Grading the first week

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Weekly Word: Each week, the Lasso Editorial Board will comment on an issue that is relevant to the students of George Mason High School. We strive to present a student-oriented opinion about topics big and small that matter to the student body.

Editorial Board

As Mason continues to move through uncharted territory, the first week of the new school went… pretty okay. Overall, the Lasso gives it a B+. Despite technology issues and, well, the very fact that school has to be online, this past week was a welcome inch (half inch?) closer to the normal high school experience we’re all missing. Here’s what our editorial team thought went well this week, and what went wrong.

What went well:

Sequoia (Editor-in-Chief): Mason teachers were amazing. Despite scheduling and technology confusion, teachers and their icebreakers, about-me presentations, and syllabi brought the familiar, warm feeling of a new school year and a fresh start that every first week of school should have – a very different experience than bizarre, improvised feeling that remote classes had (understandably) in the spring. 

Sarah (Managing Editor): Obviously there was a lot left to be desired, but teachers and students made the most of the circumstances, something everybody has been getting used to. Teachers understood that students have been out of school for six months and students understood that teachers were not trained to teach through a computer screen. Quarantine has given everyone a newfound sense of empathy, and being understanding is the only way we’re getting through this.

Anna (Managing Editor): It was nice to have a normal schedule again. In my experience this first week, teachers have been flexible and understanding with technical difficulties. I think the 55 minute blocks are much more effective and practical for learning than the longer blocks prior to COVID-19, since we are online.

Sam (Advertising & Social Media Editor): I enjoyed seeing my friends in most of my classes – many of my teachers promoted everyone to moderator in Schoology Conferences so we could all see each other. If we couldn’t see each other in person, Schoology Conferences are a decent substitute.

What went wrong: 

Sequoia (Editor-in-Chief): Schoology Conferences doesn’t feel like the right platform for GMHS virtual classes. Conferences with no audio and students who couldn’t get into class, for one, were frustrating and discouraging. And even when the platform worked, it felt isolating to not be able to see each other as we learned.

Sarah (Managing Editor): The first day of school wasn’t something to look forward to (or dread), it just felt like any other day of quarantine. Of course this is nobody’s fault, but not being able to see our friends and not being able to feel the transition of moving up a grade, really was depressing. Teachers have tried comforting us saying: “this is an opportunity to make new traditions!” but I feel like I speak for most of us when I say that the new traditions only remind us what we’re missing out on.

Anna (Managing Editor): There are long breaks throughout the day, which, though refreshing, can break up our day unproductively, as having to wait around for 2 hours until the next class makes it difficult to get things done and move along with the day.

Sam (Advertising & Social Media Editor): CCE is still kind of confusing. Why can’t that time be repurposed for more class time? I’d appreciate some more information about the purpose of CCE and what it’s supposed to be used for.