The New Norm in the Remote Learning Model

Junior Clara Keller has kept her schedule full for years. How has going remote impacted all of her activities so far?

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Photo by Bridget Johnson

Clara Keller (11) stands at the cash register in the green house at Johnson’s Garden Center. Keller got a job there at the beginning of the school year and enjoys working while in Hybrid or Full Virtual for learning.

Bridget Johnson, Bullseye Reporter

A majority of the Maize district student body is adjusting to the recent switch from the hybrid learning model into full remote learning. This unusual change has students at home for at least six hours a day spending time in front of their computer screen for four different classes Monday through Friday.

Although some students had trouble juggling extracurricular activities and the hybrid model, Clara Keller, a junior at Maize South High, has no trouble making adjustments to keep her schedule full, while still getting all her required activities done.  

“During my school days I would make sure I didn’t do extracurriculars if I didn’t have to.  Like during tennis I of course did tennis but my Mondays and Thursdays were my nights off.  Then my Tuesdays and Wednesdays I would do work and dance,” said Keller.  “Fridays I really tried to just work and do homework.  Sunday’s were solid homework and then Saturday’s were my free day.”

Clara Keller’s schedule fills up fast, but it seems to be routine for her to be on the go a lot of her days.  Her mother, Melissa, has built the busy-body mindset into Clara from the beginning.

Graphic by Bridget Johnson

“Always called them go babies,” said Melissa Keller, Clara Keller’s mother. “We didn’t stay home a lot because I was a single mom and I worked two jobs.”

On top of being busy with extracurricular activities and school, Keller also started a job at Johnson’s Garden Center at the beginning of the school year.  Despite being in school six hours a day, she still finds time to work on a restrictive schedule.

“I work in the greenhouse at Johnson’s Garden Center. I work the register, I arrange plants, I make crafts. Mostly just whatever they need me for, I’m there. It’s lots of fun,” said Clara Keller. “I have to be in school until potentially 2:00, I used to go in at 1:00, but now I have to go in at 2 or 2:30.”

Parents and students alike are frustrated about the remote schedule, finding the time division to take up a majority of the day, despite Zoom calls rarely lasting over half an hour.

“They’re going to give you 20 minutes or whatever and you’re going to move on. We’re wasting an entire day stuck at home so I think that’s going to drive Clara crazy because she’s going to want to work,” said Melissa Keller.  

Although Clara Keller is forced to be at home all day, she has no plans to slow down her many extracurriculars or spend any less time on them than she was at the beginning of the school year.

“Nothing’s changed so probably four hours of dance a week, three hours of archery every other week, upwards of twelve hours of winterguard a week when we have full rehearsals, scouting it’s hit and miss, just depends on the month and the season,” said Clara Keller.  

With the support of her mother, Clara Keller can try anything she wants to do, even if it means a schedule with little down time.  

“I know a lot of parents limit what a lot of kids do.  ‘You can only be in three activities’ or whatever, but I’ve never been that way because if they’re interested in something, I want them to try it.  I’d rather them be good at 8 things rather than amazing at one thing,” said Melissa Keller. “We’ve always said do the unusual thing first. Like miss a soccer practice to go on a camp-out. Don’t do something you’ve done a thousand times, do the one unique special thing.”

Clara Keller isn’t afraid to ask for help if she is struggling with anything and she encourages other students to do the same, especially in a time when so many are struggling mentally.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” said Clara Keller.  “You’re never alone, people think you’re alone but you’re not.”

Despite the many challenges Clara Keller has faced due to COVID-19, she has found ways to stay positive and healthy through it all.

“I don’t restrict myself. For example, this morning I went to the gym. I’m not going to stop doing everything that I do just because there’s a pandemic going on,” said Clara Keller.  “I wear my mask, that’s my only obligation.  I still go hike, I still go to the gym, I still hang out with friends, I just do it in a safe way. I don’t stop life for that.”