A Plea for Leniency

As we continue to attend school throughout a pandemic, there are some clear rules that many are overlooking.


photo by Lucie Flagg

Using Google Meets has been a stress reliever for many, but it has made recording lessons difficult.

Lucie Flagg, Co-Editor-in-Chief

It finally hit me today. I opened up my laptop and searched my makeup work on Blackboard, as I cried tears of stress. I missed two days of school last week, and suddenly, I have no idea of what I’m doing. 

Unsurprisingly, only a fraction of my missed work was shown on my teachers’ agendas. Some of them had discrete assignment descriptions, while others had none at all. I texted numerous friends in my classes, asking what I was supposed to do, but none of their descriptions beat actually being in-person. 

Online school is—to be frank—less than ideal. Maintaining focus from home is difficult when you’re surrounded by family and pets. But as I sat crying, overwhelmed by the stress of missing school, I realized the positives in remote learning. 

My teachers have the ability—nay—responsibility to record their lessons virtually. So, when I miss a day or two, I have the opportunity to watch my lessons and catch up with the class. That’s a benefit that we’ve never had. Before this year, if you missed a day, you missed it all. 

But ever since the district started encouraging teachers to use Google Meets rather than Blackboard Collaborate, it seems that no one records lessons anymore. And, frankly, I understand why.

Recording, downloading, and uploading a lesson to Blackboard is a whole lot harder than simply recording directly through Collaborate. But at the end of the day, teachers are still required to do so, and many aren’t. 

My teachers have the ability—nay—responsibility to record their lessons virtually.

I get it—I missed school, and there should be some sort of consequence. If teachers made it too easy to skip class, no one would show up. But I also feel there needs to be some exception, especially this year. 

Now that NASH is moving into full-time in-person instruction, those of us at home, whether quarantined or for other reasons, feel like the odd men out. Before, teachers gave equal attention to both the in-person and online students. But now, online students have to fend for themselves.

This past week, I experienced just this. I tuned into my classes online, but I was rarely given attention. With a classroom full of students for the first time in almost a year, it’s no surprise that many of my teachers ignored me.

It’s hard to learn that way. I’ve missed things that my teachers have said, and when I ask them to reiterate the assignment, I often receive snarky responses like “I already discussed that” or “You need to pay more attention.” I just wish I could go back and rewatch class—I think it would make it easier for all of us.

It’s not like I’m asking teachers to stop giving homework (although I wouldn’t complain if they did). I’m simply asking them to do something that they’re already required to do. And if that’s too hard, we seriously need to question why we’re even bothering with school right now at all.

Everyone here is facing the same thing. We’re all trying to navigate life during a pandemic. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we should take the easy way out, but it does mean easing up on responsibilities. 

This past year, we’ve experienced more losses than I ever thought was possible. I’ve seen death, unemployment, and a split country. That’s not something a high school student can just witness and forget. 

Visions of riots and funerals are stuck in my head. Needless to say, I’m struggling to complete my schoolwork, and I know I’m not the only one. We’ve all struggled in one way or another this year, but we’re not allowing ourselves time to grieve. 

There is a way to do school right now. Maybe we haven’t found it yet, but I hope the district is continuing to search. Full-time in-person is helpful, sure, but it’s not going to solve all of our problems. Leniency and support from teachers, however, will.