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Opinion: Students should be given less work with online distance learning

(Photo by Dong Wan Kang)

Nowadays, every morning, I tiredly wake up closer to 10 a.m. instead of 6 a.m., as my school curriculum changed to being completely online.

Some of my teachers push out an agenda every morning, expecting all students to arduously work for consecutive hours, and some simply make work for their class optional, allowing students to work at their own pace.

Since the 1918 Influenza pandemic, America has not faced any national closure or stay-at-home order for its citizens. COVID-19 has brought about changes foreign to most citizens, and schools have not prepared for a completely online curriculum for the students.

With this unexpected modification, teachers are bewildered and unsure as to how much of an academic load is sufficient for students to progress with their learning at home.

Tustin Unified School District specifically, recommended teachers to give two-and-a-half days worth of workload instead of five days’ worth.

The reasoning behind such a recommendation was that students’ concentration is hindered by various sources when in a non-classroom setting. And I strongly support this decision; teachers should assign less work when students engage in online learning.

As a student taking four Advanced Placement classes and one honors class myself, I most definitely understand the stress of assignments piling up. Teachers are prone to thinking that students take only their class and assign a ridiculous amount of work, therefore. While seemingly easy-to-complete assignments individually, when compiled at the end of the day, they become an extreme burden for students.

Some may believe that with COVID-19 canceling other responsibilities, an abundant amount of school work is no problem for teens, however, it is the exact opposite. When given a structured plan for the day — for example, attending school from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. — I am able to complete my responsibilities during that time and plan what I have to do afterward accordingly.

However, with online schooling, I am given all-day to schedule it in whichever way I desire and formulate my own agenda; this task is far more burdening as distractions can easily deter me, alongside many students, from accomplishing what had been planned.

“For me, I find it difficult to schedule a whole day worth of tasks to do,” said Carina Vo-Ta, a junior at Beckman High School. “With so many changes going on, like the APs, SATs, ACTs, and more, I don’t know how to keep up, and my schedule is disrupted constantly.

Also, my family, including myself, has other responsibilities and personal issues that came alongside COVID-19. So, I can’t keep up with work as easily.”

Like Vo-Ta mentioned, online distance learning and many other changes brought forth by COVID-19 are new in the students’ lives. From financial hindrances of business closures to major standardized testing cancelations, students have to deal with stress unrelated to schoolwork. Academic workload simply becomes another factor of distress during this time of various difficulties.

I am in no way saying that schoolwork should be eliminated completely. With countless uncertainties arising due to COVID-19, a sense of normalcy is needed for students to flourish. Therefore, an adequate amount of work is necessary.

However, I am emphasizing that there strictly exists a line between what is sufficient and excessive; teachers should give enough work so students can be occupied with academic work and experience growth, but not to a point where unnecessary stress is created.

With that said, two-and-a-half days worth of school work set forth by TUSD, I believe, is the perfect amount, fulfilling the criteria aforementioned.

Online distance learning is the best alternative out there at the moment, and, if used correctly, it can most definitely cultivate learning within the students’ currently uneventful lives.

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