Having some homework, but not too much, has made school balanced and educational. My teachers have done an excellent job of assigning homework in a reasonable quantity to maintain the student’s lives but not overwhelm them.

By Jacob Kreeger, Class of 2022

Although the Covid-19 virus has hindered the high school experience, especially for the seniors, I have still found ways to enjoy my time in quarantine with my St. James Academy. Virtual learning from home really has been an exceptional educational experience. 

Not being physically on campus has been a drag, keeping me from physically being with my friends every day, but St. James has done a great job making sure the students are moving forward with virtual learning. As a St. James student, I get consistent online classes, time to meet with my teachers outside of class, and a period to meet with my house. My teachers are working hard to apply their lessons to virtual learning and give me a great virtual education. I enjoy seeing my friends in our class calls and learning alongside them. Although it is not the same as seeing them in person in the classroom, it’s a pretty good substitute for now.

The daily classes via Zoom, although they start early, make this school experience as normal as possible, and they make sure that the students are focused on academics during the week. Friends and classmates being in different locations and shorter class periods means the class is a little smoother with few interruptions and even more respectful.

Having some homework, but not too much, has made school balanced and educational. My teachers have done an excellent job of assigning homework in a reasonable quantity to maintain the student’s lives but not overwhelm them. With shorter classes, I expected more homework; however, I have found it easier to focus on one or two assignments per class than having the rest of the day’s work piled on. My teachers have also been very open and willing to meet with my classmates and me during Thunder Block to make up work and get help from the teacher on whatever subject. Also, the St. James staff has been very accommodating of internet issues and has made sure not to punish kids for having these problems.

With virtual school, I take full advantage of having work outside of class and choosing when to do my homework. The shorter school days give me more time to work by myself on my schoolwork and check myself and my understanding of the topics. Between classes or after school, I sometimes will virtually call my friends, and we will do the homework together or review for a test. Using Zoom, I have found it easier to collaborate with fellow peers (when allowed) versus being on campus. Since we all have free time outside of school means that others are willing to work together on homework. Online school has been an excellent fill for the situation; however, nothing can replace seeing my friends and teammates in the hallway every day. Although I see my classmates on zoom every day, I still miss seeing them in person.

I also highly approve of St. James’ Thunder Block schedule. I haven’t used it often, but I know it definitely helps students to catch up on material, to get a better understanding of the topic, and to allocate more time to the teachers who need it for their class. It’s an essential learning tool, especially for some students who have restricted communication with others and cannot physically collaborate on work they do not understand, Thunder Block allows them access to teacher support.

Having a student body and community as great as St. James’ is wonderful, but also completely different when you can’t have in-person conversations. With everybody being at home, I have had more time to interact with classmates that I don’t regularly interact with online. Playing video games with my friends has led me to play with other classmates, and it has been awesome!

I endorse St. James’ approach to virtual learning entirely. I feel like I’m receiving a more wholesome education online than my sister, who is enrolled at another high school. I am reasonably adjusted to the temporary normal of online classes and have learned more than I expected to. I expected to learn little and have a hard time focusing during online class, but I was wrong in assuming.

Although I would prefer to be on campus for school, I have found virtual learning to be a new experience, and we’re making the best of it. St. James has provided me with a great virtual learning environment that effectively fosters education and community.

By Jacob Kreeger, Class of 2022

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