Students and teachers share tips for online learning success


Katherine Iversen, Staff Writer

The first marking period at Crofton High School has certainly been a new experience for everyone. For many, online classes and extra work are stressful. However, students and teachers aren’t helpless when it comes to dealing with stress and they’ve shared some helpful ideas on what to do to help.

Students have found that online learning comes with its own unique challenges. As Freshman Madi Knoppel explained, “we can’t exactly see what we did wrong, so we can’t see what we need to fix on assignments.” “I have found online learning to be stressful due to the amount of asynchronous schoolwork. Also, sometimes it is harder to learn because I am a visual learner. I do wish the classes could be the normal 80 minutes versus 45 because we could get more in-depth instruction,” freshman Megan Howarth added.

So what have students been doing to help them succeed through the stress and pressure?

“I have balanced my schoolwork evenly over the week to avoid procrastination,” Howarth said. Although procrastination is often tempting, she suggested that in her personal experience, it’s been easier when the work is spread out.

Teachers have also put forth tips and resources to make this experience a little easier for students. Ms. Lisa Thomas, a professional school counselor, said she “would recommend the following tips for students to achieve success in the virtual learning environment.

  • Make an intentional study space. One of the downsides of virtual learning is the potential for distractions.
  • Get the right gear. If there are a lot of distractions at home, the right headphones are essential.
  • Take in-between-class breaks. It’s important to give your eyes a break.
  • Head outside. Take a walk outside, get some fresh air, it can help restore your motivation to learn.
  • Ask for help. Use your flex days. I can’t stress it enough. Your teachers want you to be successful. They are there to help you understand the content. There is no shame in asking for help.”

Motivation and focus are both very important in helping to succeed in all learning climates, and online is no different. Knoppel says that she has been “making sure to take breaks between school and when I do my homework at night” in order to help her focus.

There is also an important aspect of management and organization. This fact is not lost on English teacher Mr. Michael Magaha. “For students, I would so strongly encourage using some sort of planner or calendar. If you can organize your work by due dates on a calendar (digital or physical), it will make everything feel so much more manageable,” he said in an interview.

There are also opportunities within the school that students are able to utilize. For example, school counselors have put forth an abundance of resources to help students deal with stress. There is a virtual counseling office.

“If you click on the individual counselor, you will gain access to their personal virtual office, as well as our School Psychologist. The Counseling office consists of Mrs. Bulmahn our Department Chair, Mrs. Crankfield, and myself Mrs. Thomas. Our School Psychologist is Mrs. Quigley,” Ms. Thomas explained.

They also have a podcast, “Crofton Conversations”, and a virtual “Cardinals Calm Corner” which offers “meditation strategies, as well as visual calming methods,” Ms. Thomas said.

The other school-wide opportunity for students is the Student Wellness class that meets three times a week, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. There are varied opinions on this class and its helpfulness. Howorth said that “it has not been very helpful. I believe that students should use that day to rest and relax in order to do well in our schoolwork.

However, Ms. Thomas offered an alternative perspective. She said that “the Student Wellness classes can be very helpful to students, especially when they are interactive.” She also adds that her favorite part of the class from a teacher perspective is the community circles. “I enjoy learning more about my students and helping them to appreciate their commonalities and differences with the other students in class,” she explains.

Although there has been stress that has come with the new online experiences, there are steps to be taken to help to relieve the pressure students may feel. Every student is different, and there are many unique opportunities and steps to be taken to make this year at least a little easier.