Teachers Helped Me In Ways Online Learning Couldn’t

Commentary, Alicia Marie

When I finished high school, I was adamant that I wasn’t going to college. I didn’t have good relationships with my teachers and I wanted nothing more to do with school. However, once I started regularly attending Omega Boys Club in San Francisco, my “bad teacher relationships” changed. At the club I was taught how to create and stick to a budget, how to choose my friends, and how to survive in college. With all this training, I felt confident to go off to school. With the support of Omega Boys Club, I was able to go study in Hawai’i at the University of Hawai’i Maui College.

Once I got there, my teachers were the first ones to become like my family. They were amazed at my work ethic and how much I wanted to learn. I spent much time after class with them learning and talking about my life in San Francisco. They saw my expressions when I learned something new and congratulated me when I did something right. If it weren’t for my teachers taking the extra personal time to physically meet with me somewhere to learn, I wouldn’t have done well in college.

However, everything changed my junior year. I finished all the courses on Maui that I needed in order to transfer to University of Hawai’i West O’ahu, the school that actually offered the degree in Public Administration that I wanted. I would be on O’ahu for the next 2 years, but there was one catch –all of the classes would be online.

At first I thought online classes would make things simpler — I could work on my own time. As I quickly learned, however, that wasn’t the case.

Due to the fact I wasn’t in class with my teachers, learning and asking questions on a regular basis, I felt as if I wasn’t learning anything. I was just doing the assignments, but not retaining any information. I felt so discouraged. So much was going on in my personal life and I was so used to going to my teachers and talking to them about it. Now I couldn’t, because the teacher was just there to post a grade, not really to have a conversation or explain in detail how the assignment was to go. It really took the whole “school” aspect away. I wanted to physically go to class but it wasn’t possible.

I hate to think that soon all schools will be online. Without a teacher that is physically accessable, school will become automated and future students will miss out on having a great experience. Teachers are there to be family and teach you. A computer lacks that emotional connection. I hope the schools realize that students need teachers to be successful.

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