Satire: A Serious Argument for a System of Education that Improves Upon the Hybrid Model without Compromising the Safety of its Students or Requiring a Great Reform to its Current Conventions or Potentially Inciting Any Sort of Kickback or Opposition from its Students

Education in a mailbox. Photo taken by Sam Domzella.

In light of the pandemic, the hybrid learning model was adapted by WCI to provide the best possible learning experience for its students without compromising their safety. This system involves having one half of the students in school with the other half at home, switching weekly. 

Despite the fact that this system is able to adhere to the mandated safety guidelines while allowing the courses to be taught effectively, that teachers have been working hard to make this work, and that it takes advantage of the technological tools which we are lucky to have at our disposal, this system has still been subject to criticism.

The main one being that sometimes WiFi is slow.

While this system does have its strengths, and these criticisms are valid, there is a method of schooling that I not only think provides a higher quality of education than the hybrid model, but also alleviates its issues: correspondence learning.

Correspondence learning is essentially school done through mail: all homework, assignments, lectures in the form of cassette tapes, and other course materials are sent to and from the students through the post: a service typically used for the physical transport of material items acquired through online shopping, the sending of birthday cards and other celebratory goods to relatives and loved ones, and boomers.

For simplicity’s sake, this system, which I will be naming the Students and Teachers Using Postal Institutions for Distanced Learning (STUPID Learning™) system, will not only replace the online portion of the hybrid model, but the in-person portion as well.

For example, the standard procedure for an English essay will be as follows: the teacher will mail the instructions to the students, and the students will send back their finished essays. If at any point a student has a question about the essay, they will send a letter to the teacher asking that question and wait for a response.

Since there is no opportunity for in-person contact between teachers and students in the STUPID Learning™ system, the only safety precaution which must be taken concerns the letters and packages themselves. Because both teacher and student will be handling the same documents within a day or two of one another, there is a possibility that the germs of one individual will be mailed to the other.

The STUPID Learning™ learning system will combat this by adopting a similar policy as the hybrid model, wherein any items received by either students or teachers must be left outside for seven days since it was sent, so that all germs which happened to survive the journey will be sentenced to certain death by the lethal dangers of the outdoor weather.

One of the problems with the hybrid model that the STUPID Learning™ system will address is the difficulty of making sure everyone has access to WiFi and a functioning device; the STUPID Learning™ system does not require students to have computers or WiFi. Problem solved.

Of course, computer science classes will suffer somewhat, since students will have to write out code on paper, send it to their teacher who will transcribe it and test it on their device, then write out and send the results to the student. This is but a small sacrifice that must be made to ensure proper learning and health and safety and equality and prosperity for all.

The STUPID Learning™ system will also eliminate many of the stresses which come with online learning. Confusing and unintuitive platforms, cluttered email inboxes, and the distracting nature of technology will all be non-issues. Not to mention the mental health problems which are rooted in too much screen time.

Under this system, students and teachers will save money on WiFi, electricity, and technology. With the new need for paper and office supplies, they will also support local businesses, like Munder Difflin, who have been suffering as paper has become more and more obsolete.

The STUPID Learning™ system will also provide a good pretext to teach students cursive writing. Since students will have to write by hand more frequently than usual, a more efficient way to do so will be extremely valuable. Thus, it can be purposefully reintroduced into the curriculum.

This system, however, has some seeming issues that must be addressed. For example, how are more practical classes, such as tech, foods and music classes, meant to operate under the STUPID Learning™ system?

For tech/music classes, teachers can mail tools and supplies/instruments to students who will use them as needed, and then send them back when the course is finished. And foods teachers can take advantage of online grocery shopping services to have ingredients be sent directly to students.

In fact, herein lies one of the advantages that the STUPID Learning™ system has over the hybrid model: physical objects cannot be sent through cyberspace.

Another seeming issue will be the delay between when something is sent and when the recipient is allowed to handle it, which, as previously mentioned, will be seven days. This is not a problem because while in theory, Gmail can send a message faster than the postal service, no teacher or student in history has managed to respond to an email in under seven days.

One final seeming issue with this system will be that this system does not allow any sort of social connection between students. However, in the case of students from grades 10-12, connections between students have already been made, and these relationships can be stimulated outside of a school setting. And for students in grade 9, the stresses of having to make connections in a new school will be alleviated.

Besides, the need for there to be interaction between students is an artificial construct invented by teachers so that they may do less work. Thus, regardless of whether or not students decide to interact with one another out of their own volition, the quality of the education the students will receive will not be compromised.

The STUPID Learning™ system clearly makes for a better solution to the problems brought upon by the pandemic, and I strongly advocate for its consideration as a plausible, realistic, and sensible alternative to our current hybrid model.