A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Online Work Ethic Turns Pathetic


On the first day of online school, I woke up early. I made sure I had everything I would need for class in front of me. I figured that it would be a much easier learning experience, but much to my surprise, my day was filled with constant distractions: my mom vacuuming the house, my brothers coming in and out of my room, and worst of all the ability to go on my phone whenever I pleased.

With COVID-19 being the main focus for all of 2020, many normal activities have shifted online, one example being schools. While the change has helped to keep students educated and learning, there have been some setbacks and negative side effects of the change.

One of the main effects of online learning is the change in how students get their information and how diligent they are with their work. Without the in-person instruction from teachers, some students have found it more difficult to learn and hold onto information than in other years.

“I have noticed a change in my work ethic now that the majority of schools are online. This change is for the worse because I am a hands-on learner and since school has transferred online, I can’t seem to be able to concentrate on school anymore,” Junior Angel Matias said.

Junior Bernadette Vanderhoof has also found difficulty in retaining information. “My grades have stayed the same, but now, it’s more about getting work done than doing my best to remember the information being taught,” Vanderhoof said. Anthony Vigari, a junior at Sunrise Mountain High School, said that school is much harder this year. Due to him being at home rather than in person, there’s no one to keep him in check to make sure he’s working and finds it harder to ask for help online.

As well as this, for some students, online learning has caused difficulty in focusing on work. Whether it’s distractions from family and friends, other classes, or technology, it’s nearly impossible for students to be completely focused on school when they are at home.

Junior Angel Matias finds that it is harder to focus when learning online because he gets confused about what has to be done and when it’s due. Junior Bernadette Vanderhoof also finds it difficult to focus on work when so many distractions are at hand. With the ability to sleep through class without getting in trouble with a teacher or the ability to leave class and watch T.V. instead at the click of a button, it becomes harder to give school 100% of one’s attention. Junior Bear Herrera adds on to the idea that focusing on school has become a difficulty. “Being at home where everything like clothes and shoes and getting out of bed is optional makes school feel optional too,” Herrera said.

This idea points out another significant effect in which students are less motivated to get their work done. Without in-person lectures from teachers and the encouragement and guidance to get work done that’s usually found in the classroom, it’s harder for students to push themselves to be the best they can.

“The difference is that online there’s not really anyone to tell me what to do, and I’m not motivated to do anything,” Freshman Jaedalyn White said. Junior Bear Herrera found he was much more motivated in school as opposed to online when the hybrid model was still in place. “In person, there’s a teacher at the front of the room who actually guides conversations and is more interactive and engaging. At home I can play my switch or watch Community during lectures and fall asleep immediately after,” Herrera said.

Despite all the changes in schedule and procedure, some students have managed to stay just as productive as they were before online learning.

Junior Gabriel Garcia has noticed that he has remained diligent during online schooling. “My work ethic has practically stayed the same; same thing with homework. Most of the time, I get my work done and turned in on time, which is how it usually has been,” Garcia said. Junior Kaitlin Feeley has also stayed studious during the pandemic due to how well she’s adapted to learning from home over the years. “Personally, I think it’s easier because I was homeschooled for most of my life, so independent learning is something I do very well,” Feeley said. She adds that the additional time at home allows for more time to get homework done.

Teachers have noticed how differently students perform this year as well. Through teaching their classes, teachers have found that some students are more motivated to get work done than others.

Greenway music teacher, Mr. May, has noticed that there are two different groups of students this year in his classes. “There are several students that have really embraced what we are doing and have improved their practice habits and work ethic on their instrument,” Mr. May said. He contrasts this more proactive group of students with those who do just enough to get by and don’t take true pride in their work. “On the other hand, there are a handful of students, that are doing the bare minimum just to get by, or nothing at all. Unfortunately, without performances, and the ability to meet as a full group, some students are becoming disenchanted. I can’t blame them, and I totally understand what they are going through,” Mr. May said.

Greenway science teacher, Mrs. Walth, adds to this idea. She said that while most students get their work done without problems, some students lack the motivation to turn in every assignment. Numerous distractions at home only make it more difficult. Mrs. Walth said that students are less willing to ask questions this year which can affect how well their work is done.

All in all, online learning has caused changes for every student. Whether a student finds online learning more or less difficult than in-person learning, we’ve all had to adapt to the new circumstances in 2020. After a semester of school, we’ve all become more acquainted with the idea of online school, and we can all find ways to improve our motivation in 2021.