Hybrid model adds new twist to rollercoaster year

Luchik Belau-Lorberg, Staff Reporter

January 19th saw the return of many Mountaineers to school in hybrid format. 

Compared to the previously employed full-remote instruction, hybrid had students physically in class to receive instruction synchronously with remote students.

“I am hybrid, and I have really enjoyed it. Hybrid is definitely better than remote, seeing as I can get out of the house and interact with classmates,” said freshman Tyler Perna.

Senior Emma Croce agreed.

“I generally like the transition into hybrid because I struggle to focus at home,” said Croce. “There’s something about being in class and seeing people you know that makes school ‘school’.”

But not all hybrid students enjoyed the model and have opted to return to fully remote education.

“Unfortunately, in the hybrid model I felt like I was continuing to do remote learning in a different setting,” said junior Jonathan Godbout

Other students remained remote and did not make the transition at all.

“I am remote and it’s gone pretty well so far. I think classes like gym are hard because of the limitations of being in a small space, but most classes are fine,” said freshman Kevin Carrol.

Freshman Brian Russo disagreed.

“I enjoy remote because you can sleep in late, but I’ve noticed that it is harder to pay attention in class when you aren’t in the building.”

Adapting to a remote and then hybrid format this year has been a wholly new experience for the teachers at Wachusett. 

“It was so difficult to plan the way I like to because I was never sure if I had enough material or information. As many teachers have said: ‘It’s like being a first-year teacher all over again,’” said physical education teacher Krissy Teevans. 

Students also empathized with the difficulty of teaching in a hybrid classroom.

“I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to teach in-person and remote students simultaneously,” said Godbout.

According to students, building and maintaining friendships and other relationships has been extremely difficult this year.

“Those [relationships] are the parts I miss most about school that hybrid hasn’t really solved. There’s no lunch to share stories, no tables to share during studies; even when there are people in my classes, we aren’t close enough to talk or work on a project,” said Croce.

Teevans agreed.

“I am most sad about not being able to truly connect with my students,” sad Teevans. “I believe I am successful in a regular year because I am not afraid to discuss difficult life situations with young people and I’m a straight shooter so they know I will speak honestly, even if that means giving tough advice. By now, I would know my current 250+ students as if they were my own, but sadly, I cannot say that this year. It has been a very lonely existence.”