WEBSTER, N.Y. (WROC) — In one Webster household, the whole family is working from home. Jaeden Cortes is a senior at Webster Schroeder High School. He said he started off working at the kitchen table to get better lighting for Zoom classes, but it didn’t last long – his parents were nearby. “I could hear my moms meetings, my dad talking on the phone, so I moved back upstairs,” he said.
The physical set-up for his virtual classes is just one of many aspects to hybrid learning that he has had to adjust to. It is now week two of learning for Webster schools, and Cortes says those challenges are finally starting to get a little better.
Cortes says for teachers and students, technology was one of those hurdles. “Maybe your audio or video doesn’t work and then you get out and get back in … yesterday we did have our whole internet crash or something, but they did fix it in like three hours.”
Thursday is a virtual learning day for Cortes – he started off the day with a BOCES program “New Visions” for students interested in going in the medical field, followed by a few zoom classes. “They split up the school in half, I go in with the second group Tuesday and Friday, and Monday and Thursday I do virtual learning.”
Cortes said Wednesdays are designated cleaning days for the school, with 25 minute virtual office hours for each class. He said this is an opportunity for him to ask questions, catch up on any work and be proactive.
Another challenge is making friends. Cortes says while there is less interaction with other students, there are still ways to make friends once you get the hang of the Zoom environment. He said when teachers sort students into groups over zoom, also known as breakout rooms, conversations start naturally. “You can talk about interests, stuff you do and things you have in common with each other.”
He said students had to sign a Zoom etiquette slip at the start of the year, assuring they’ll be muted when necessary, and having cameras on to show they’re present.
Cortes says overall, the experience is giving him more time to himself, as classes are only 40 minutes over Zoom. This forces him to be more independent once his classes are over. “You can do homework or whatever for the day, work on homework for next week, time manage better.”
He said while things are different from last fall, its all about having a positive mindset. “You have to change with the times, not be stuck in a mindset and adapt to the situations you’re in,” said Cortes.