I would like to welcome my beautiful daughter as a guest blogger today. I think you will find her views insightful, well thought out & timely.
My name is Rachel Hegreberg, I am 22 years old, and I am currently a full time student in Wisconsin. I’m studying to be an ESL teacher, and it’s been an exciting, yet exhausting journey thus far.
This past semester, I was on track to complete my minor. I was feeling on top of the world as I walked into my first week of classes, confident in my abilities, ready to tackle all the new challenges that awaited me. I was most excited for my Field Placement(Field Study, Pre-Student Teaching, Practicum, etc) that would be starting at the 8 week mark of the semester. I had been given an opportunity to meet my host teacher in early February, and I was thrilled to get the chance to work with her. She was the kind of teacher I aspired to be. My dreams of working with her in her whimsical classroom were soon shattered when the buzzword of the year reached Wisconsin. The UW system schools decided it was in best interest of all students and staff that we were to go online for the remainder of the semester.
I fell to the floor, tears streaming down my face as I read over the email over and over. My heart was breaking, not only for myself, but for the students who would no longer get to work with the compassionate woman that was their teacher. My heart broke for my peers, who are not getting a graduation ceremony, or a chance to say goodbye to their favorite professors, or friends. My heart broke for students who used school as a safe haven, and now had no choice but to go home and live with abusive or neglectful families. My heart broke for all the people on my campus, myself included, who had just been laid off, and couldn’t apply for unemployment because we have work study.
The transition to online schooling wasn’t as hard as I had initially thought, as I had taken some online classes before. I was fortunate to have been allowed to stay on campus, which provided me with plenty of resources to get everything done. I had my textbooks, folders and materials set up in one of the spare bedrooms in my now, very empty apartment, and I organized my assignments by due date. One day a week, I would sit down in the living room and get everything done for the week, occasionally taking snack breaks, or getting up to get water.
This system worked for me significantly well, and I didn’t miss a single assignment during E-Learning. All of my final exams were completed and turned in far ahead of their due date. However, I’m not feeling very confident about the quality of my work. Maybe it’s because I had to read through rubrics and interpret everything on my own? Or maybe it’s simply because I feel as if I didn’t really learn anything these past 8 weeks. I feel as if I have been cheated out of my education.
I’m not the only one feeling this way. There are many students filing lawsuits in order to get tuition refunds across the country, as E-Learning is ineffective. I lost an opportunity for hands-on classroom experience, something I cannot get back. Parents everywhere are doing their absolute best to homeschool their children, but are at a loss. They haven’t been trained in pedagogy. They don’t have the resources and knowledge that teachers do. A majority of students are going to be behind come Fall semester, and many things will need to be retaught.
As we transition into summer, then back into schools, remember how it felt to home school your kids. How e-learning felt. Thank your teachers. Thank a teacher you know. They have a hard job too.