My First Day of Hybrid Learning


By — Njeri Jackson

Tuesday, March 3  I embarked on a new adventure into school, like the actual building. It was pretty crazy to be honest. It wasn’t like there was a lot of chaos going on, it was just very different.

My day started off at four in the morning when I woke up from a nightmare about school and was incredibly nervous about itl. I ended up tossing and turning for a couple hours before I drifted off for maybe five minutes then was woken up by the elementary school bus. I proceeded to panic and think that I missed my bus then realized it was 6:14 in the morning and it couldn’t possibly be my bus. I drifted off for another five minutes then dragged myself out of bed at 6:30. I proceeded to spend my morning running around getting ready to get on the bus.

When we got on the bus there were nine people there and everyone was separated where you sat in every other seat by yourself. I’m on a bus that combines middle and high school students and the middle school was crowded with buses and cars and there were three lines to do heath scanning, temperature checks, and something else I couldn’t make out. 

When I arrived at Tuscarora things were much less organized. We got off the bus-we were the only bus there at arrival- and the place looked somewhat deserted. We followed the stars on the sidewalk, which are meant to keep you six feet apart, and the line went through quickly. People didn’t really follow the six feet rule completely when we arrived, it was pretty chill. We were told to walk in if we had filled out this health screening/survey that was sent out. If you hadn’t, they had you scan a qr code and do it before you came in. Apparently there are thermal thermometers in the actual building I guess, which would explain why they didn’t take our temperature. 

After entering the building we were to go to the gym because they split up the group based on the time they arrived; I arrived at 8:48, which is before 8:50, so I was sent to the gym. Those who arrived after 8:50 were sent to the auditorium. In the gym the bleachers were out and you were supposed to sit in a seat that had a sticker on it. The stickers were placed six feet apart I believe, but that’s an estimate. People of the same household were allowed to sit next to each other if they wanted, but besides that you had to be apart. There were people that didn’t adhere to the rule who unfortunately, were behind me. They would just take off their masks and break the six feet rule. The staff corrected them, but who knows if they followed it.

We sat in the gym and just did whatever we wanted to pass the time. Most people did something on their phones or talked to people if they had friends. We were dismissed in sections to our advisories. There was a student helper teacher, and other school workers there to help, mostly for the freshmen. I wasn’t in the auditorium,but from what I heard from my friends who were there, it was that it was a bit unorganized and there weren’t many people watching them.

On my way to advisory I passed by the library, and I would just like to note, it is beautiful. It’s very well set up and organized, it doesn’t give off much of that kind of chill and warm vibe you could get from the old library where so many people hung out last year. It’s very modern looking.

The hallways are extremely annoying. It’s one way in most of the hallways so you have to walk around the perimeter of each floor in one direction till you get to your class. My advisory is on the bottom floor, towards the back, so it wasn’t much of a difference to walk there.

My advisory had four kids in it, I was the first to get there. I have a combined advisory, so there’s two classes in the room and there were three people from my advisory and one person from the other. The lesson was presented on the huge promethean board, which has gotten an upgrade so they’re touch screens now, and they’re pretty bright. 

My first block of the day was newspaper and it was a bit of a trek to get there. I forgot about the one way hallway, actually more like I didn’t think about how it was, so I came up the stairs and had to walk around nearly the whole perimeter of the top level floor to get into the hallway with the newspaper classroom. I don’t know why, but i was breathing way too heavily after that, maybe because I was speed walking the whole thing so I wouldn’t be late.

It was just me and my teacher, Ms. Kelley, in the class and we had a pretty chill time. I typed part of my article, we did the meet, and talked. It was a good way to start off my seemingly downhill-from-here day. 

My next class was english and I was, again, the first student there and my teacher was thrilled to see me. To be honest, I was shocked she recognized who I was. She was very bubbly and nice. I used the e-hall pass during that class and it basically shows where you are and times you wherever you go in the school. When you get back I think you have to turn it off so it stops tracking you. It’s a little creepy to be honest, but at least it keeps kids from skipping. Class in english was similar to how it is online. What was being presented was on the large board and we answered out loud instead of on the actual meet because if you had your mic on you’d hear an echo. I think this class really kept you on your toes because it was very hard to just zone out and have no one notice. You had to pay full attention essentially, which was difficult for me because my focus shifts to something else if I’m bored which is what happened that day. I zoned out many times, but in my defense it was because I knew the concepts that were being taught and all the answers to the questions so it didn’t really matter that much to me. I mean I attempted to pay attention, and thank goodness they were videos, because if it was a lecture I probably would have completely peaced out.

Transitioning and getting to class on time is the hardest. Getting to the classroom is fine, but keeping up with the time of the google meets is a hassle. When everyone at home gets out the bell rings and the people in the building are cleaning up their stuff then. After that you hustle to the next class. I was incredibly drained at that point and could barely pay attention in economics. I was in a classroom with maybe six or seven kids that were either in economics with me, or in another class. It was mixed. By then I desperately wanted to eat and have some water, but you have to keep your masks on all the time. I heard there were mask breaks, but I didn’t get one and I don’t really know why. I’m guessing because we had a proctor (I think that’s what they’re called) and they don’t really do that? I really don’t know. All I know is that I was very, very hungry and I felt quite nauseous.

By the time the bell rang I thought I was going to pass out and I was so happy to just get to the cafeteria. The cafeteria was filled with pink papers that said where you can’t sit. There were only two people allowed at each table, eight feet apart. My friend was behind me, but I didn’t get to talk to her very much because we both had to eat and we’re both quiet talkers so it was insufficient on both of our parts. I remember I was shaking and kind of dizzy until I actually ate most of my lunch. It was quite quiet there, people still talked, but a lot of people just sat there and ignored everyone else. 

After I returned and class finished I ended my day with the study hall which was, again, very chill. The teacher was very kind and we talked a little bit before I did homework. School dismissal was pretty much exactly the same, nothing really new there.

When reviewing the day I noted a few things. For one I noticed who attended. Most of the people that chose hybrid appeared to be freshmen and sophomores. Therefore my classes with mixed grades had the largest number of students in them. There were shockingly quite a few seniors, at least that I saw. I didn’t recognize many people in my grade (I’m a junior), and I think us juniors or the seniors were in the smallest number of people although I’m not completely sure because I didn’t see the second group. I think in general there weren’t many groups of friends, a large number of people were by themselves and the others had maybe a couple of friends. 

Another thing I noted was that people pretty much avoided talking to each other. Students usually stayed quiet, or they talked briefly to their teacher. Teachers, on the other hand, were extremely excited to see students in the building. I’m pretty sure we made their day, the way some of them acted. I had a teacher squeal and say hi to me and talk about how excited she was that students were back, and I didn’t even know her. It really showed how important students are to teachers.