The Student News Site of East Grand Rapids High School

The East Vision

School on snow days

Shannon Ors, Staff Writer

Perhaps the only type of alarm that can elicit a celebration in the early morning of a school day is that of a dinging text message delivering the blissful words that school is cancelled. However, just before students can doze off into a blissful slumber, a storm of dreaded Remind 101’s explode on their phone screens. Mother nature may have cancelled school, but thanks to virtual learning platforms teachers are not giving up that easily.

The conglomerate of learning platforms that students bookmark on their Symbaloos and have download as apps on their phones foster a culture in education that expects students to engage with their class outside of school hours. Deadlines are now assigned at 12:00 a.m. on a Saturday night. Youtube pencasts replace whiteboards deliver as the means of delivering lesson content. Substitute teachers once use to mean a study hall or educational film, but now equate to a laundry list of worksheets or a dreaded webquest. This pervasiveness of technology has crept into the most unwelcomed spaces blurring the line between home and school.

Snow day homework in particular  is the product of a myriad of circumstances, but most noticeably it reflects the pressure of teachers to stay on timeline for completing the curriculum. With the school year starting later each subsequent year, advanced placement teachers have an even shorter window to prepare students for their exams in May. I wholly empathize with the stress teachers are under and why they resort to snow day homework, however I question the effectiveness of such assignments and if this type of learning really makes up for lost time in the classroom. In many cases, teachers will still have to review the material in class once school resumes and deal with the miscommunication that often ensues from virtual learning.  Eliminating the ancillary lesson plans such as an educational film may be a better alternative to makeup for loss days of school instead of compensating with snow day homework.

If the trend towards virtual learning continues, at the very least the school should make an effort to address the ambiguities that come with the territory of virtual learning. Specifically addressing when homework can be assigned outside of regular school hours as well as when it can be turned would not only foster a healthier learning environment, but keep students and teachers to the same standard.


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