Francis Lewis Adapts to a New Style of Learning

After a week of no classes from March 16 – March 20, Francis Lewis High School resumed classes on March 23 via remote learning as all NYC Public School buildings were announced closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Francis Lewis faculty reported to work from March 17- 20 for professional development on remote learning before classes resumed that Monday. 

When students first heard that school buildings were closing, some were concerned about the change. 

“I was honestly not happy about switching to online learning because it was a very sudden switch and I knew it wasn’t going to be as good as a classroom,” sophomore Yavisth Ramnarayan said. 

Most classes have resumed online using Zoom meetings to replace face to face instruction and teachers are utilizing platforms such as Google Classroom to post class assignments and important notices.  However, some students feel stressed from the switch because they are not used to the learning platform and would rather be taught by their teacher face to face. 

James Park

“Learning at home made me feel more stressed as it is not the same when the teachers are right in front of you,” sophomore Amy Huang said. “Classroom learning is much more enjoyable as the people around me make the class fun and [it] helps me learn better.”

In addition, students feel that the material in certain classes is harder to grasp through remote learning. 

“It is not harder to understand the material for certain classes like science and math because you have the internet to help you better take in the information,” sophomore Maheen Ali said. “Classes that involve more writing and deep comprehension are much more difficult because you don’t have a teacher to correct you on the spot.” 

“I only feel like I am behind in my language class because there is no guarantee that I am learning correctly without contacting my teacher,” Ali said. “This is a class I struggle with the most so I expected it to feel like I am not getting the same experience as I usually am.”

Teachers also feel that there are drawbacks to not being in a physical classroom as it can limit their ability to teach. 

“The students are still completing the work that I assign but they cannot collectively debate or do activities that might make the material more interesting,” AP World teacher Mr. Bucholtz said. 

Trigonometry teacher Ms. Fong agrees that not seeing students face to face poses difficult challenges.   

“In class I can gauge student learning from the interactions that I have with students,” Ms. Fong said. “Sometimes the way I state something in class doesn’t come out as clear as I imagined, but I would only know that from having students stop me to ask me a question that highlights any misunderstandings in class.”

Although the change to remote learning has posed challenges, some students enjoy learning in the comfort of their home because they are more likely to focus on their studies than when they are attending school.

“I can ask questions in real-time, but at home, it’s easier for me to focus and understand the work that I am doing,” junior Tasnim Hossain said. “I thought learning at home would disrupt my learning, but I was surprised that nothing has changed, although my routine has changed a bit.”

Jade Cora-Brea

Mazin Hussein, a senior at Francis Lewis, feels that online classes work well for him.

“I believe the style of education fits my standards,” Hussein said. “There aren’t many challenges that I came across or can think of in general. The way I see online learning in terms of content is pretty similar to attending school physically, and the leniency with the schedule enabled me to have a lot of time to study, complete schoolwork, or work on personal work.”

Although closing school buildings for the year has brought many challenges to both faculty and students, some feel that is the best choice taken for the Francis Lewis community.

“I am a bit relieved because the idea of going back to school before we are ready is quite stressful,” Ms. Fong said. “I am ready to finish out the school year remotely with as much momentum as in September.”

“It saddens me that I will not be able to finish the course work that I began with my students,” Mr. Bucholtz said. “However,  I understand that it is the safest and best option to cancel the remaining school year.”