It is no surprise that the majority of students are dreading going back to school not only because of the pandemic, but because of the mental toll it will take. Over the course of virtual learning, many students had adjusted their schedules to fit in convenient breaks and more sleep time. In addition, many used the resources around them on a multitude of assignments which isn’t allowed anymore. “It's hard to make the full effort that in-person school requires, especially as a senior, but ESPECIALLY after not having to be fully ‘present’ for any of my junior year,” says one student. On the other hand, many feel relieved to go back as they would learn far more. Over half of students’ stress increased and less than half intentionally remained engaged over virtual classes. It is important to discuss a couple of positive and negative things to look out for this upcoming year as it helps us see we are going to get through this together.
1. Difficulty Focusing and Putting Effort
While this may not apply to each student, many will face struggles in completing assignments with full dedication. Over virtual learning, students could get away with slight effort but it seems that many teachers are beginning to expect more than what we can give. This will increase stress within students and can create a dent in their will to do things. Ways To Help:
Have teachers remain understanding as we all adjust to the return
Allow students understandable amounts of time to complete assignments
Include breaks throughout the day
Remind students that their mental wellness is important to them as well, encourage open conversations and understanding attitudes towards the human, before the student.
2. Drained of Energy/ Lack of Motivation
As a student who isn’t fond of waking up in the mornings and has a hard time with school work overload, I can relate with students when they say they don’t feel motivated. Having to wake up early all of a sudden and attend school for 8 hours can be a difficult task after being able to sleep in every day for the past year. As we go into higher grade levels as well, we tend to get more and more tired from the increase in work which can have negative results. According to a CNN article, many students had adapted to putting in less effort over virtual learning which now affects them at in-person learning. A student who had been interviewed stated she would participate less, turn her camera off because she didn’t look presentable, etc. This was the case for most of us but we can bring back this energy!
Ways To Help:
Remember that you are human and you are adjusting to a new setting so please don’t be rough on yourself! You’re doing amazing!
Reward yourself with fav snacks, breaks, etc.
If you may not complete all your tasks for a day, don’t be harsh on yourself, and know that you can always try again!
Working with others around you may motivate you to do more! Also, work with your teachers to solve questions or accommodate the work according to you.
3. Increased Social Interaction
This is one of the positives of school as everyone gets to see each other in real life. Being stuck behind a screen for 18 months hasn’t done much good for our social skills. While we may have lost some ties in communicating with our peers, enforcing group work, and being in the presence of one another has allowed us to open up again. A survey completed by teachers showed that a 64% increase in depression and anxiety among students had occurred. “I’m excited being able to actually talk to people since that didn’t happen virtually and do in-person activities and not just stare at a computer screen all day,” another fellow student spoke. I totally agree! Additionally, another classmate pitched in, “It is a very big change, because I got used to just sitting at home, not caring about how I looked and not having to interact face-to-face with anyone, and now we’ve just been tossed back into how things used to be for the most part. I’m looking forward to more functional group projects and generally interacting with people I like.”
While there may be a few people who aren’t affected by this change, we should keep in mind there are many who may need support and time as we transition back into our normal lives. Please continue to wear masks in school and take precautions. Happy learning :)
Einhorn, Erin. “Remote Students Are More Stressed than Their Peers in the Classroom, Study Shows.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 18 Feb. 2021, www.nbcnews.com/news/education/remote-students-are-more-stressed-their-peers-classroom-study-shows-n1257632.
Redirecting. (2020, February 28). CNN. https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/28/asia/remote-school-education-intl-hnk/index.html&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1632327748802000&usg=AOvVaw3p_73raFEUDWPdqgREEZTY