Hybrid Learning Evaluation


Sophie Divino

When I found out that we were going to be fully remote instead of hybrid until October 19th, I was definitely disappointed. I thought hybrid learning sounded like an amazing way to go to school: you get to stay home for two to three days a week, all the days are shortened, yet you still get to see your friends and socialize. 

However, once school started and I got into the swing of things, I came to appreciate remote learning more than I thought I would. Instead of waking up at 7:00, I could wake up at 8:00. Instead of worrying about making sure I didn’t wear the same outfit within the past three weeks, I could roll out of bed and throw on a sweatshirt. Instead of being forced to shove food down my face at 7:30 when I wasn’t hungry, I could eat breakfast during class at 11:00. Finally, and oddly pretty important, instead of anxiously waiting for the bathrooms to open, I could go to the bathroom whenever I wanted. As someone who really enjoys freedom and sticking to her own schedule, I began to hope not to go back to school on the 19th. 

As the 19th approached, I began considering switching to remote learning instead of virtual. The only reasons why I possibly wanted to go back was the fact that I would be able to socialize with my friends and that I might be able to learn better from the teachers. Therefore, I started to get uneasy when I saw that a majority of people were switching to fully remote. When the teachers sent out the seating schedules, I saw that I only had at most six people in my classes. On top of that, one of my teachers said that we would not be able to socialize with people, since we have to walk single file in the hallways and our desks would be far apart. My last grain of hope disappeared when my teacher told me that during class we would still be obligated to join the Google Meet, so it would not be like we were receiving some special instruction that the remote kids weren’t. Just like that, the only two possible benefits of going back to school were eliminated. Nevertheless, I decided to go to school for a week and give it a try, but I fully intended to switch after that week.

Waking up on the morning of October 19th put me in a better mood than I thought I would be in. I was sort of excited to meet my teachers and to see some of my friends again. I decided to go into the day with optimism. The bus dropped me off at the school at around 8:00, where I was to report to the cafeteria with the rest of the juniors. We had to sit at desks and socially distance ourselves, but I was surprisingly able to talk to people. I didn’t realize how much I needed it, but seeing my classmates really lifted my spirits. I had never considered myself an extrovert, since I enjoy my independence and love being alone to regroup, but having little conversations with people and catching up with them gave my day some substance that was never there before. 

I saw this even more so when I finally went to my classes. There was an environment in the classroom that I had never experienced before, and really enjoyed.  Unlike what I previously thought, it was really easy to talk to my classmates. In fact, it was even easier than being in school normally because of the small class sizes.The small class sizes gave the classroom such a warm feeling. It was also really nice to finally meet my teachers and talk to them. I feel that the teachers are more engaged with the people who are in the classroom and it is easier to get to know them by being in person. The environment fosters conversations of substance, rather than just schoolwork. When you are staring at a computer screen, both the instruction and the conversations are very robotic. But when you are with people face to face, it feels that  people are more comfortable talking. I see this with myself too. While doing school online, it was kind of daunting to unmute my microphone to ask a question because it was hard to read people’s reactions. I also didn’t like knowing that everyone was staring directly at me, face to face.  In the classroom however, it is so easy to ask a question that people barely raise their hands anymore. It almost seems unnecessary to raise your hand because it feels like you’re having a conversation with the teacher and everyone in the room. Because it is so much easier to communicate with my teachers, I also feel that choosing the hybrid option helps me learn better. 

As it has probably been inferred, I did not end up switching to remote learning. I really came to appreciate going to school for the social and instructional benefits that it offers. Also, on days where I miss that extra hour of sleep or the comfort of my own home, I know that on at least two days out of the week I get to enjoy that. It’s the perfect balance. I highly suggest that everyone who is remote switches to hybrid. I completely understand it may sound like you are better off at home, but maybe you’ll underestimate the benefits of being at school just as I did.