How to Stay Motivated During Online School


photo courtesy of Olivia Near

Students started to learn virtually starting in March 2020 due to COVID-19 concern.

Olivia Near, Reporter

Students faced a lot of challenges in online school this year due to the difficulty of staying productive in a virtual classroom. 

Here are some tips from Dianne Matthaei, the learning specialist at the Upper School for Boys (USB) about dealing with new routines.

Several changes made in Upper Schools’ schedules include three classes every day, which rotate consistently between Blue days and Gold days. This new schedule decreases the amount of classes students need to keep track of and helps to make online learning easier.

During virtual class, it can be a challenge to focus in an online environment. However, keeping the camera on at all times greatly increases the sensation of being in a classroom, as well as helping other classmates to stay engaged. According to Matthaei, making a personal goal to talk in every class will help to understand the material more solidly. Finally, taking notes during lectures is highly recommended for content comprehension, as well as staying involved with the class. 

During tutorial time, Matthaei says “take a little break … but then sit down and use that time. Don’t say ‘I’ll get to it later’ and go off and do something else.” 

By using tutorial time effectively for the homework given in the prior class, it lessens the homework load immensely after school. Contacting your teacher if you’re having a difficult time is always easier during tutorial, and is a great time to reach out. Ideas for quick breaks between classes include walking around, getting a glass of water, having a snack, or even stretching. 

In addition to online study spaces, the physical learning environment is also extremely relevant to the focus and comfort level of the students. Finding the right virtual study area requires experimentation with different areas. 

Matthaei said “if you find a place that’s clearly not working, try another place until you find a good spot.” Having class materials nearby is also important, and can create a more productive space.

Outside of school time, maintaining basic, healthy routines is important for overall success. In general, having a set sleep schedule helps to increase energy during the school day. Though it may be tempting to have a smaller or even nonexistent lunch, it’s better to be full during the school day, so that students won’t be distracted in the middle of class. Staying in contact with friends and maintaining social interaction is also highly advised, during lunch and after school. Finally, it’s harder to get exercise during quarantine, but it has many benefits such as sleep quality, energy, and mental health. It’s not just about what students do during school that makes a difference, but the work put in outside as well.