Local Students on Virtual School

KP News asked three KP kids to describe their online class experience this year.

Allison Taylor: Online Evergreen Elementary School Fifth-Grader

We have a morning meeting and then we have our specialist, except on Wednesdays, and then we do our math, and then we have recess, and then we do our English language arts or our reading stuff, and then there’s lunch recess, and then there’s independent work just to catch up on anything.

It’s pretty nice. Sometimes it’s kind of frustrating, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. Sometimes we have a question and we go to Zoom and wait a while, and by the time you’re on you can’t remember your question. I can’t do Zoom if my brother’s playing a game at the same time.

I think there are 20 something kids in class. You can’t really talk to each other except on Fridays at the meeting at the end of the day. Not many people come to it but kids are getting along because they can’t really talk to each other any other time. People are being frustrated with some things.

I’m trying my best. I like to go up to my neighbor’s a lot, I like to go up there pretty much every day and also I just like to go outside.

Right now I think I could do it for a couple more months. I miss my friends a lot and I wish that I could see them and that we were in person. The kindergartners and first graders are lucky because they get to be in actual school.

Dylan Shipman: Online Key Peninsula Middle School Eighth-Grader

It’s hard to say this early how the year is going. It’s obviously going to be different, but I wouldn’t say it’s going to be a bad different. I might even say it’s going to be a good different because this is going to teach us a lot of new stuff, both the teachers and the students.

It will never be the same online. It’s the equivalent of saying socialize when each of you guys has a box around your head. Some teachers will give us short breaks during Zoom to go get a drink or whatever, but they also turn the chat on and we can talk, we can talk about movies, we can talk about turtles, you know, just talk.

In Language Arts we have discussions sometimes that will go on for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and we interact that way.

One of the longer discussions was on “would you rather be innocent and be happy because you don’t know anything that’s going on that’s bad, or would you rather not have any innocence and because of what is going on be sad and depressed?” The majority of people in that class said we should know some but we shouldn’t overload ourselves with news. My example actually was, “How are we supposed to fix problems if we’re so innocent we don’t know anything about them?”

The teachers are going out of their comfort zones, they’re taking extra time, they’re adapting, they’re being really understanding, and I feel like if they didn’t do all that our year would be very different.

Especially Band. The purpose of Band is to be a band family and to play together and it’s very, very different when you do that over Zoom. We’ve been playing as a whole ensemble for two years and then you put four walls around everyone and say, “play together” or “learn together.” It’s not the same, but it’s the best we can do so we’re going to do it.

Grace Nesbit: Online Peninsula High School Sophomore

It’s a lot less fun when you’re not with your friends.

There are six core classes, then I have Zero Hour for band, and there’s Home Room on Wednesdays, so technically I have eight classes. Home Room is kind of weird; it’s a class that’s like a mind break for you in the middle of the week. So far, we’re doing getting-to-know-you exercises.

It’s definitely a lot more work than freshman year. I feel like the teachers have the mindset that since you’re at home they can give you twice the workload.

I’m just trying to go with the flow. Whatever gets thrown at me, I’m just going with it. I’d like the online formatting to be easier. With internet problems, some submissions don’t go through completely. I’m a good student but if things don’t go through, then you have a bunch of Fs in the gradebook. All the teachers understand because they’re struggling with it too.

I’ve seen some friends in person a few times, but otherwise it’s all social media and texting. That’s like all the socializing we can do.

Swim and water polo practice is definitely helping. We’re able to practice again, in pods. We’re six pods in three groups and the groups have different time slots. Just getting your mind off of school and getting back in the water feels so good.

I also just got accepted into the student leadership board for the Holocaust Museum in Seattle, so I think I’m going to be a lot busier but it’s definitely going to help me get my mind off school.

I think everyone’s just trying to get through this. I hope we’re back in school by March, at the latest.