Teens Discuss Online Learning

Hi, my name is Brenton Banister. I go to Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica. I’m one of the thousands of students across the nation known as Generation Z being subjected to distance learning in the Santa Monica School District.

Brenton Banister

Not only has my school regimen changed drastically, but so has my basketball activities and socialization with my peers. My goals in life are to go to Crossroads for High School and preferably UCLA for college. Becoming an NBA basketball player would be my ultimate goal, of course! I basically have an average 13-year-old’s life with a lot ahead of me.

The online (distance learning) experience isn't as authentic, providing the real middle school adventure I have been waiting for, being an 8th grader. We really aren’t getting 100 percent of the learning that we need, but we’re being kept safe, so I try to make the best of it. I think attending school through distance learning is making me more mature because I realize the world can switch up with you in a blink of a second.

I’m sure I will be better prepared if we get a new pandemic. I’m grateful for my teachers. I know it is hard for them with everything that’s going on with this COVID-19 pandemic. Their lives have been affected, too. I used to play basketball almost everyday, and now I can only play for a short period of time. I mostly play in small groups with my friends from PAL (Police Activities League) and the Boys & Girls Club. I can’t even play travel ball anymore with Blue Chip because the season was cancelled due to COVID-19. Now, most of us kids just sit at home and play video games.

Although this is a very unexpected transition for all school-goers, I’d rather be safe at home with a chance to dream about a future than to have no future at all. My only advice to you is to keep your mask on, please. Our future is counting on it!

Julia Abbott

Many Californians are still working from home and, with LAUSD staff choosing remote learning for the foreseeable future, students have started the school year at desks, tables, and beds.

For many kids, it’s harder to focus. In rooms with phones, toys, and families providing plenty of distractions, focusing on school is far more difficult.

One of the easiest ways to combat this is by setting up a school space. This is a place free of distraction where kids can do their online school each day. It can be just about any space, once a few simple steps have been taken.

Firstly, the space should have a chair. It’s much easier to focus while sitting at a table than it is lying in bed. Additionally, the space should have all necessary school supplies, so trips to find a pencil don’t become gateways to more


I’d recommend creating or buying a planner or calendar, so changing class schedules and due dates become less confusing. Once your child is sitting up straight with his/her school supplies, little “extras” can be added to the space.

I have a tiny vial of lemongrass oil, so I can have a nice, clean-smelling place to work. However, everyone has something that works for them. Be it a favorite stuffed animal, a tiny bag of snacks, or a blanket for the chillier days in fall, comforting items don’t have to be distracting! At the end of the day, home isn’t the ideal place for school. But, creating a school space wherever it's possible will help kids stay focused for learning.

By Julia Abbott

Local high school student


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