Students Compare Virtual and In-Person Learning After First Marking Period

Though+school+has+moved+back+to+in-person+learning%2C+many+aspects+of+virtual+technology+have+been+implemented+in+classrooms.+Students+have+had+to+adapt+to+both+forms+of+learning%2C+but+many+continue+to+have+a+preference+for+their+specific+learning+style.+Photo+courtesy+of+Chris+Montgomery.

Chris Montgomery

Though school has moved back to in-person learning, many aspects of virtual technology have been implemented in classrooms. Students have had to adapt to both forms of learning, but many continue to have a preference for their specific learning style. Photo courtesy of Chris Montgomery.

Amelie Puga, Reporter

After a year and a half of virtual learning, Westwood students and teachers have finally returned to in-person school. Some students have entered their freshman year of high school while others have returned for their first “normal” high school experience since 2020. 

“I prefer in-person learning,” Netta Blinchevsky ‘23 said. “I think it’s much better for my mental health in terms of talking to people in person and not feeling so detached from the world.” 

Last year, the administration, teachers, and students had adapted to virtual learning and discovered new applications and schedules to work through the circumstances. Though completely in-person learning has presented new challenges during the pandemic, virtual learning software like Schoology has been carried on into the normal classroom. 

There are mixed opinions throughout the student body. Because of students’ adaptability, some grew to prefer the online environment. Whether it be the comfort of their own home, the ability to stay focused, or the self-paced learning style, the change back to being in the building after a year of only virtual classrooms has been an adjustment.

“Virtual [school] worked better for me,” Daniel Ambriz ‘23 said. “I concentrated better [when] working [by myself] instead of [with] all the distractions around me in class.”

Although some teachers were working virtually from school last year with no students in their physical classrooms, many feel that teaching to full classrooms of students is not the same. While most have worked at Westwood for several years and knew the school’s approaches and procedures, some teachers were welcomed into their first year at Westwood through cameras and chat features. One of these teachers is English teacher Mr. Alejandro Callirgos, who joined the Westwood teaching staff in January of 2021.

“I prefer in-person learning,” Mr. Callirgos said. “In the virtual world, it’s easy to forget that you are interacting with a living, breathing human being.”

As the grading period comes to an end and the school year progresses, whether attitudes change remains to be seen. For now, Westwood students and staff are still adjusting to a myriad of changes in their learning environment as they continue to evolve.