Kidding around about online school

A third-grader and first-grader’s take on virtual learning, time travel, everything in between

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Madelynn NIles

TAKING A CLOSER LOOK: Nate Baugh earnestly peers at his first-grade friends during a Zoom call regarding rhyming words and syllables. The way Nate sees it, school just isn’t the same without seeing his friends in real life. “I wish my friends Griffyn and Caleb would zoom through the Zoom and out through my computer,” he said. “But I’m only left with this sausage!” Nate punctuated this sentence by holding up a piece of sausage from the kitchen and giggling so hard he nearly fell over. Photo by Madelynn Niles.

By Madelynn Niles, McCallum High School

If third-grader Jackson Baugh was the host of his Zoom classes, he would mute everyone forever and ever and open the chat whenever he wanted. 

“That would make online school much better,” he said, and his little brother Nate couldn’t help but agree. 

“First grade is harder than kindergarten,” Nate said. “All the talking gets really confusing. It goes blah blah blah, it’s crazy.” 

The boys started school, like McCallum students, with online learning on Sept. 8. 

Jackson has three classes a day. Nate claims he has 47, including writing on the wall and stabbing snake fangs classes, but his brother says he really has two. 

Both boys agreed that the first day was “kinda nervous-y”. 

“The first day was like…” Jackson frowned and stuck out his tongue. “Like that.”

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS: Third-grader Jackson Baugh opens up his Chromebook to begin class alongside his BB-8 action figure and Bubbles, the family fish. Jackson likes science class best because of the online experiments, but reading is a close second. “I never go on MackinVia, though,” he said. “I only read real books.” And to Jackson, real books mean one thing: Harry Potter. Photo by Madelynn Niles.

Jackson’s favorite class is science, but reading is a close second. 

“I never go on MackinVia, though,” he said. “I only read real books.” When asked the criteria for a Jackson-certified real book, he replied simply with Harry Potter. (Favorite character: Harry, favorite part: the stabbing scene in the second book.) 

“They’re the best books,” he said. “We read a chapter a day.”

The boys like everything about Harry Potter, especially the violent parts. They even reenacted a scene on the spot to prove this and recalled that phoenix tears heal you, which is valuable information people should really keep in mind. 

Nate said his classes can get pretty silly. 

“I saw someone named Sawyer walking around in his underwear on Zoom once,” he said with a laugh. When asked what the teacher said, his brother Jackson responded with: “He was probably like ‘That’s some cool underwear.’”

Nate giggled for minutes about this answer before his brother politely asked to move to the next question. 

If Jackson could go in a time machine to before the coronavirus outbreak, he would speak directly to the School Guy, who is the man that invented school.

I would [tell the School Guy] ‘Oh, no, you should not make school, it can cause COVID!’ … Then there would be no school forever! ”

— Jackson Baugh on time traveling to before COVID-19

“I would say ‘Oh, no, you should not make school, it can cause COVID!’ ‘What is COVID?’, he’ll ask me. ‘Oh, it’s a virus that can kill everyone.’” He paused. “Then there would be no school forever!” Jackson threw his arms up and smiled a huge smile to celebrate this, and his little brother joined in. 

Also on the list of things they would do with a time machine: talk to mommy and daddy when they were younger to make them like video games more, and save Jurassic Park for their own personal dinosaur zoo.

Nate added that if he had super strength, he would pick up his whole house with one hand (after taking out their Nintendos), but his brother reminded him that they were supposed to be talking about school, not superpowers. 

Nate giggled. 

“Okay, I’m done being silly,” he said. “Give me another question — everyone gets a second chance!”

Nate went on to discuss his technological situation. He doesn’t like using his iPad on account of him having to tap everything. He’d rather it do everything for him. 

“And my favorite class is reading. And breaks. And recess.”

He smiled at just the thought of it. 

Nate misses his friends most of all. School just isn’t the same without them. 

“I wish my friends Griffyn and Caleb would zoom through the Zoom and out through my computer, then I’d see them in my room,” Nate said. “But I’m only left with this sausage.” 

OH BROTHER: The Baugh brothers strike a silly pose between classes on a Friday morning. If the two could say anything to the readers of The Shield, Jackson would say “sup”, and Nate would inform everyone that he is “the overlord of Zoom and the newspaper.” Photo by Madelynn Niles.

Nate held up a piece of sausage from the kitchen and giggled so hard he nearly fell over. 

If the boys could say anything to the readers of The Shield, Jackson would say “sup”, and Nate would inform everyone that he is “the overlord of Zoom and the newspaper”. And if it had to be something positive, they would let everyone know that they can’t see them, but that they’re probably wearing a cool shirt. 

And as for online school, despite missing the real-deal, the two feel pretty confident about the rest of the year. Especially Jackson.

“Third grade online is pretty easy,” he said. “Now second grade, that was challenging.”

This story was originally published on The Shield Online on October 9, 2020.