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The Pluses and Minuses of ZOOM Learning

The awesome and awful about online classrooms.

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You haven’t seen the inside of a classroom in months. And it’s not just summer – it was months before that even! Come to think of it, this is the longest you’ve gone without being in a classroom since… well, since you started going to classrooms in the first place, way back in Kindergarten. Now it’s all remote learning on ZOOM. It’s a brave new world, and there are definitely some good things and bad things to sort out. Let’s make a list with bullet points and weigh the good and the bad.

Start with the minuses – that way, we can end on a positive note. Here’s a shortlist of the not so great things about ZOOM learning, in no particular order.

You Miss Your Friends

This really stinks. Sure, you can still see them and laugh, joke, talk and message, but nothing beats hanging out and bugging each other in person. And who do you borrow an eraser from when you can’t find yours? More importantly – who’s going to share their lunch with you?

No Recess

This really stinks, part two. The thrill of hearing the recess bell electrified you every day. Like the weekend, it never got old. Twenty amazing minutes to do pretty much whatever you want (no tripping, cursing, throwing balls at someone’s head, but you get the idea…) with whoever you want. A reward for hard work, a respite from your teacher doing all the talking. Running around until you’re sweaty, catching up with friends – that’s the good stuff. Recess is like recharging a battery that’s starting to lose power. You miss it. You need it.

No Lunch

OK – you still get lunch (your parents aren’t monsters) but it’s not the same. Just seeing what everybody is eating is interesting, plus what yummy stuff (and not so yummy stuff) the cafeteria is serving.

No Field Trips

So not all field trips are created equal – let’s be honest. Some are definitely better than others. The aquariums with the marine pools where you can touch sea cucumbers and starfish are pretty excellent, and the science centers with all the interactive stations rock. And missing out on the sleepover trips where your whole class camps in the woods for a few days? Come on, we’ve been robbed!

Glitchy Internet

This means frozen teachers, frozen classmates, frozen you, weird robot voices, getting kicked out and having to get back on – and being MUTED by your teacher? It’s horrible!

Parents, Siblings

I mean, you love your parents – but too much of a good thing can be … not as good a thing? And being around your sister or brother All. Day. Long. No comment.

And now, ladies and gentlemen – the pluses.

Sleeping In!

Why didn’t they think of this sooner? No more morning time hustle and bustle with stress and traffic and school buses and hearing the final bell just as you’re getting within earshot of school – and tardy notes. All that saved time goes toward more delicious sleep and dreams of a non-COVID world.


How happy have your dogs and cats been to have you home all the time? They must think they won the pet lottery!

Secret Snacks!

Yeah, sure, your teacher made a rule about eating on screen, but all you have to do is duck off-screen for a second and get some banana chips, a cookie, Red Hot Cheetos, or even a little hummus and carrots and pop back in as if you were tying a shoe. Your ability to chew without anyone even noticing is now reaching Olympic levels. (OK, that’s not an Olympic sport. Yet.)

Comfy Chairs

Getting to listen to a lesson on fractions while sitting in your awesome office chair with the swivel and the height adjustment – or just one that isn’t wood and designed to punish kids? Twelve kinds of outstanding.

More You-Time

Less time spent going to and from school means you can get your homework done faster and have more time to read your favorite book, listen to your favorite music, watch your favorite TV show, and play with your pet. Alright, let‘s be honest; you’ll probably spend a little time on the internet too and maybe even do some gaming. But after all those screens? A little time away actually feels good.

So how does this list of the good and bad of ZOOM learning all average out? Hate to say it, students of America, but … do the math!

Pennel bird is a writer, educator, musician, husband, and father who currently lives in Glendale, CA. He is a Political Contributor for He likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

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