Learning during a pandemic: the emotional and academic toll

by Victoria Rodriguez, Tyro Times Staff

It’s not news that students and teachers were struck when the pandemic started, but that is just the surface area. Some believe students and teachers finally found a legitimate excuse for laziness and procrastination. We, teachers and students, have never experienced a pandemic, but I can’t say it didn’t affect me. I can say I have stayed motivated to learn and kept my focus on my goals, but can others say the same? 

“Staying indoors and not going outside or talking to anyone in person or walking throughout the day makes me feel sluggish and increases lack of motivation or effort,” an eleventh-grade SBHS student said.

While some students are feeling a sense of decreasing motivation, other eleventh graders said they still have some hope. 

“I don’t think it matters whether I learn online or in-person because over time I’d adapt to changes.” 

In my psychology class, we learned about scripts; they are sets of knowledge we have for specific situations. Anything experienced that is not within our scripts makes us anxious or uncomfortable. As for our educators, I can only assume that during these modern times that some may have some experience learning online, but that does not necessarily mean that they know how to teach online. 

Teachers are being forced to throw away almost everything they have been taught and relearn teaching in an entirely new approach. With all due respect, teachers were not brought up with the same technology that we students were, so it is expected that they do not always understand how things work.  We have never experienced this situation, we haven not prepared a script for it, so it is only natural that some of us will react differently than others.

“I think I achieve more academically in person classes because I will be in a learning environment rather than in my own home where it is a place to take a break/refuge away from school work,” another junior said

Some students are learning to adapt to the new circumstances, but there are still others who are different learners that need more help. I believe that those who want to improve and learn will make it happen, but it is okay if students need more time to adapt to our new situation. We see our teachers two, maybe three times a week rather than every day, so of course, they are trying to cram in information into two hours.

According to some of my responses, some teachers do make an effort to pause during their lectures for any questions, but some students’ voices are overlooked. How can we expect educators to educate if they, too, are still learning? How can our educators differentiate the difference between a student who is struggling academically with the content and a student who is struggling because of the online format and the pandemic?

“I am more of a hands-on learner. On screen, teachers can mute us and move on when we try to type or say our question. The audio in my meetings are delayed so that’s another problem. If we have a problem with a question or lesson, my teacher can not really show me how to do it or make corrections or how to use a certain tool…Online schooling and in-person schooling does have its pros and cons,” a sophomore said. 

But I believe it goes both ways, teachers are drowning in emails, meetings, work to grade, and some of them still have families to care for. The comments I heard from teachers and students this past month made me question whether this dilemma of students “not learning” or not doing their work and teachers “not teaching” could be solved with communication. Students do not view teachers as people and vise versa. Teachers have mouths to feed, and we have jobs to do, whether it’s at home or at work. If we cannot see the other’s perspective, our way of learning, way of teaching, and mental health will never improve.

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