We talked about what teachers are doing during COVID-19, but what about the students? How are they coping with the changes that have occurred between starting online home schooling, being in quarantine, and more? From talking to students all the way from Pre-K to Seniors in high school, we have learned that in the eyes of students, there are both pros and cons to this crazy situation!
Kingston, a preschooler in Utah, said that he loves not having to get dressed in the morning or do his hair for school! He also thinks it is cool that his teachers are trying to stay in touch. One of his teachers made a digital book with a picture of each child and their favorite food to send to all of their classmates. He told me he was excited to get this! However, it did make him miss his friends even more.
Across all ages, students have shared that the hardest part of the COVID-19 changes has been not being able to see their friends or interact with their teachers in-person at school. Technology has been a great tool, but it isn't the same for these students. Morgan, a 10th grader from Maryland shared that the hardest thing for her has been this lack of interaction. She said, "Although we do have video chats, it's not like we're really interacting with our classmates and teachers and having that connection that we did at school."
Some other difficulties faced by students have been distractions from home. It has been nice for students to go at their own pace, as 7th grader Nielie said, but then it is easy to not focus since no schedule is set. Confusing instructions can also confused students and make it frustrating to complete work online.
Even with all of these difficulties, students have been able to find the good in this difficult time. Marissa, an 8th grader in Texas, said that she loves spending time at home with her dogs and getting to spend more time learning how to cross stitch. In addition to being at home, some students are able to be around those who they feel comfortable with as opposed to difficult situations at school. James, a 1st grader in Utah, said that he likes that he can escape the bullies since he is at home with his family.
We know how hard teachers are working all over the country. One example is the teachers who are trying to combat the lack of interaction for students. Luke, a 10th grader from Texas shared what one of his teachers is doing each week! He said, "My world history teacher hosts a Zoom call every Monday, not for instruction, but to talk as a class, which is nice because even though it's not what we normally have, it shows how far some teachers are willing to go to make a difference and help kids during this time."
Your efforts as a teacher are being noticed! Some students shared with me their favorite things from their teacher(s) right now.
Seth, a kindergartener in Montana, said that his teachers mailed him stuff to make a balloon rocket! That has been the most exciting of home schooling for him!
Shayleigh, a 4th grader in Utah, talked about her funny student teacher who has tried to continue staying in touch with the students during COVID-19. To continue read alouds that he had been doing before, he has been posting videos that she thinks are nice to listen to.
Sydney, an 8th grader in Texas, shared that they can feel how much her teachers care about her. She said that it has been hard not to have band, but that the teacher calls her to catch up!
It is amazing to see how students are handling the stress that has come their way. Yes, there have been some downsides to the chaos, but each child I talked to is adjusting well and trying to find the positive side of a very difficult situation. This is a wonderful opportunity for us as prospective teachers to evaluate what we will do if faced with online schooling in the future.