Ever since students began online school, there have been various reports of eye strain from overexposure to screens, neck pain from looking down for extensive periods of time, and constant dizziness and headaches. When students were at Graded their routines were completely different; students were less sedentary, walking in between classes, and, with the many open areas around campus, they would be exposed to necessary vitamin D. However, now that everyone is learning from home, there is rarely any reason for students to get up as much throughout the day; Some don’t even get out of their beds in the morning.
While teachers have been instructed not to keep students online for the entire 80 minute period, in reality, that doesn’t actually happen all of the time. In fact, while some teachers do a wonderful job spacing out classes so that there’s an occasional five-minute break, most teachers seldom give students any breaks, or when they do, it is simply for them to complete individual work in breakout rooms. The importance of giving students time to refresh increases during online learning as different from in-person classes with limited technology students now need a break from the computer screens, not from lectures given by teachers. Not to mention that Countless students have expressed how the ten minutes they are given between each 80-minute class is barely enough time to give eyes, necks, and ears a much-needed rest. And let it not be forgotten that some days there’s mentoring and extension periods, which not only hinder students’ motivation to learn but also strains teachers who have to speak for these extended periods of time.
Online learning is a difficult experience for teachers and students alike. It may as well be part of our “new normal,” and though it is safe to say that Graded is handling this as best as they can, staring at a screen for hours on end will inevitably be exhausting and tiresome. However, there’s no need to fret! Your health is The Talon’s top priority, and we will not leave you in the dark. Here is a list of measures you can take to stay healthy, pain-free, and happy during online classes:
Firstly, The Talon suggests students and teachers stack their devices under certain items so that they are at eye level (flat articles would be preferable, but if you can manage to balance your computer on a basketball, by all means, go ahead). Also, if you are going to use your phone, try not to hunch over it and instead lift it to your eyes. Bonus points: you can make your neighbors think you’re very peculiar.
Secondly, remember to frequently roll your neck and shoulders. We cannot tell you the exact amount of times to do this per class, since everybody’s needs differ, however, if when you look up, your head feels like it’s about to fall off, that’s a pretty clear sign that you need to stretch it more often. Please be gentle! Do not aim to crack your neck, instead slowly go in large circles. Also, take a walk around your home during breaks. It is not a waste of time; exercising is beneficial, even if it is only for short periods of time. Get those daily steps in!
Thirdly, try to take paper notes. That way, you’re getting a break from the screen and when you go back to study, you won’t have to be on a device. Not only that, but you retain information much better when you write something by hand as opposed to typing on the computer.
And finally, try not to spend your breaks on your device (phone or computer). We don’t expect you to go outside and lay in the sun, especially when most people have only a small balcony that doesn’t even receive light, but just try not to go online or use headphones. You can pretend you are in the Victorian times and have a tea party with your old stuffed animals, or start filling in one of your old coloring books, adding your own creative twist. Whatever you decide to do, just be, creative.
Hopefully, after putting this advice into practice you are able to prioritize your health above all (yes, even above your grades because grades ≠ life).