Hybrid, Ham Sandwiches, and Humming on Mute

What a wonderful first few weeks at the brick-and-mortar Kennett High School!

I wish I could say the halls were packed with fresh faces and overflowing backpacks. However, this year is a little different for everyone. Who knew that a once bustling high school could feel like a complete ghost town! Classes are small and spread out, mainly varying from five to ten in-person students. Instead of pencils and paper, we open our laptops, accessing virtual platforms such as Schoology and Microsoft Teams. A sense of long-awaited unity filled each classroom with curiosity and delight. Finally, after months of tech issues and computer mishaps, face-to-face learning could begin once more!

Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all glorious. Being a homeschooler for the better portion of 2020 will develop some pretty bad homebody habits. Waking up early to catch the bus and dressing from head to toe in matching clothing felt far-flung. Packing a lunch the night before was also a forgotten chore. At home, you can eat whenever and whatever you want for lunch. The toaster oven, stove, and microwave are just steps away. Because of hybrid, the classic ham and cheese sandwich has reintroduced itself into my lunch bag. Let me say, it was nice to have a break from the everyday go-tos.

Certainly, there are some disadvantages of returning in person. At home, you can double-check to make sure that your microphone and camera are turned off. The occasional sneeze, nose blow, or humming aren’t distractions for your peers. With hybrid, I find myself holding in these manners. In addition, texting friends about complex lesson plans and confirming class answers is not as easy during the hybrid setting.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy getting better acquainted with students in my Thursday/Friday cohort. Hybrid has opened the door of optimal learning throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In the long run, it is worth the effort from teachers, administrators, parents, and students. I hope that in the near future we will be able to have every student back in the building! Third marking period, here we come!

— Paige Smagala