Last month, I published Neema Avashia’s guest post at my Ed Week column, Students Respond to Adults’ Fixation on ‘Learning Loss.’
It was a great post, and I shared more related commentaries at Trying To Bring Research, Sanity, Teacher Expertise & Student Voice To The “Learning Loss” Discussion.
I took the questions that Neema asked her students, made some very minor modifications, and asked them of my students:
Questions from Neema Avashia
I’ll share a few of them. However, here’s a summary of their responses and what I think they mean for our school:
For the “what they have lost” question, friends, social skills, mental health and motivation were the two overwhelming responses. To me, that speaks to use needing to make a priority of doing many community-building activities when we’re back and to be very intentional about supporting the re-development of intrinsic motivation. In addition, I hope that districts use some of their stimulus money to make additional mental health support at school sites.
For the “in what ways have you seen yourself grow” question, a greater sense of independence – often supported by many getting a job – was the most common response. This is great, though I do wonder if there will be many students who might continue working a lot of hours for pay during the next school year now that they have gotten some money in their pockets. I hopeful that President Biden’s recent stimulus will reduce the need for them to have to work to help support families.
For the “what do you want adults to know about ‘learning loss’ ” question, many said that they and others haven’t learned as much in school this year. But many also emphasized that adults should not fret too much about them – that they are resilient and will make up for it with teacher support.
For the “what do you need from the school” question, though a few asked for summer classes, most students asked for a break from school this summer, for a a safe return to the physical classroom in the fall, and for patience and support when they do come back to the physical classroom.
Here are a few of their responses:
During the pandemic, what are things that you feel like you’ve lost?
I lost motivation to do anything.
I feel like I lost my connections with my friends
I lost friends because during pandemic time I was not able to see them and it was hard to be connect with people, this made me felt alone most the times.
I feel like I’ve lost my ability to physically interact with strangers, I get super nervous/awkward now.
I feel like I lost many things. Like my dreams and hope.
My mental health.
During the pandemic, what are the ways that you have seen yourself grow or learn new things?
I’ve seen myself being more independent during the pandemic, like I got myself a job.
I have learned a lot of new things and one thing that i learned was how to start your own business.
I’ve learned to balance work and personal time now. I’ve learned to be more balanced and not obsessively focus on this one assignment. I’m learning to practice self care and understanding myself and my environment more.
The pandemic and staying at home during school has taught me to rely on myself more, it has taught me responsibility, and it has taught me to use my time more wisely even though I am still getting a hang on that one.
I’ve also learned to have hope.
Many adults in education right now are very focused on the idea of “learning loss.” They think that kids are falling behind academically during the pandemic. What do you want those adults to know about you and your experience during the pandemic?
I want them to know how I have been positive despite the pandemic, and trials I have faced.
I want them to know that it is hard for students because they don’t really learned much and it hard for them to do the work when they are getting distract by their family members.
A lot of kids are falling behind but I don’t really think it’s their fault most of the time. Just because it’s our education doesn’t mean that it’s our fault when something goes wrong with it.
We aren’t in the state of “learning loss”, we’re in the state of “loss of sanity due to the being overwhelmed by online learning.” It may seem that we don’t do things since weren’t at school, but we have other personal things at home. Those things take up a lot of time and energy.
Believe in us. If anything we are all strong so I just want the adults to know that they don’t have to worry so much. This is a bump in the road and us students will get through it with some help here and there.
I want them to know that we are trying very hard to keep it together, being stuck at home and not being able to do things you love takes away interest and enjoyment of life. It’s difficult to continue with the same routine, zoom everyday and endless assignments. Many people have to work during the pandemic and manage classes. It’s hard to keep ourselves motivated and productive but every student is trying their best and that should be recognized and praised.
I agree because it has been and still is hard for me and my school work. When we were going to school not online my grades has always been good or okay, i can see now that we’re doing online school my grades have dropped a lot. I can’t focus correctly and i feel like i haven’t learned anything new this school year. I am still confused today with some of my classes. I think teachers that give out a lot of work, should put in consideration that we have 6 classes and our other teachers also assign us a lot of work too. They should also put in consideration that some of us don’t have any one at home to help us with our school work. And should be understanding of it. This school year has been hard and stressful.
I would want those adults to know that we are falling behind and most of us are aware, we just dont really care anymore.
What do you need from Burbank this summer and fall?
For the summer i hope that they have some summer classes and for the fall i want them to open school.
We might need more classes to help for English learners.
If we can get a college summer prep program that helps us apply to colleges and stuff like that, that would be helpful
I do not need anything to be honest, but just a break from being in front of the screen could be beneficial for most of my peer students, sitting in a chair and staring at a monitor/screen for a long period of time is physically exhausting
I kind of wish we’d just open up the school next year instead of this May so that everything is for sure safe for everyone
I need Burbank to learn how to adapt to online learning instead of trying to make it like how it was in the classroom.
I hope that when we come back to Burbank, the school will help us ease back to traditional school. I hope that Burbank will make the school year more wonderful to start out the year back from distance learning.
We’re all going to be working hard in the fall……