With the pandemic, this past year gave the world a strong blow, and presented the Peddie community with unprecedented challenges. Amix of hybrid and remote learners, Peddie students have mixed feelings about online learning.
“Remote learning is really tiring,” said Jennifer Ma ’22, a junior from Shanghai China. Feeling similarly fatigued by the challenge of fully remote learning, many remote international students are eager to be back on campus. “Of course I was looking forward to going back to campus,” said Curtis Zhou ’24, a freshman from Shanghai, China. “There is nothing I can wish for more than being on campus,” said Mike Yan ’23, a sophomore from Shanghai.
Yet others enjoy the benefits of online learning, and were able to find the positive aspects to the current set-up. Sihan Chen ’24, a freshman from Guangdong, China believes that studying at home is “less stressful compared to being on campus.” Ma, too, despite the challenge admitted that she enjoys remote learning because “most of the classes had a slower pace which made the junior year so much better in terms of learning and absorbing materials.”
That said, students have observed areas where Peddie could, from their perspectives, improve its delivery of online instruction. Peddie could “allow all remote students to give up all the afternoon classes and have less homework,” said Ma. Some students had suggestions for improving the sense of community, as well. “The school [should] host more online SNA activities that can accommodate remote students in different time zones,” said Yan.
Hybrid learners prefered in-person weeks over the online ones. Thomas Wen ’24, a freshman who has been on campus since the fall, says that being online makes him feel “a bit too detached from school and activities.” Some teachers expressed similar concerns for the online weeks during hybrid mode. Spanish teacher Briana Robinson says that the hybrid mode is very different from what she was accustomed to, as her classroom used to be filled with lots of interactions. It has also been a new experience crafting and administering exams and assessments. Robinson says that she really misses pre-pandemic teaching.
Whether teaching remote or hybrid classes, Peddie teachers had to adapt their teaching styles and curriculum. Chemistry teacher Jorge Serrato says that the hybrid mode presented new challenges, and when he heard about it, he immediately started redesigning his classes so that the students could follow the curriculum more easily. Arts Department Chair Alan Michaels also said that the hybrid mode differed greatly from what he used to experience in the classroom but feels he eventually adjusted successfully.
When looking ahead into the spring term, some students expressed their enthusiasm and optimism as they plan to self-study via Khan Academy, read books and utilize other ways to prepare for the challenges ahead. Peddie teachers plan to continue to support us to be ourselves, while also enforcing adherence to the community guidelines. Students and teachers have shown a commitment to get through the remainder of the year together.
Note from the writer: I would like to use this column to thank all the teachers and students who made great sacrifices to make the fall and winter terms successful. This is who we are, this is the Peddie community!