Education in Unprecedented Times

The word “unprecedented” seems incredibly indicative of the past eight months. Almost every single part of our lives has shifted in the wake of COVID-19. As time passes, we move on with our new reality, people change their perception of work and life, and we have all inevitably become an extension of our computers. Amidst all of this new technology and social distancing comes an array of unexpected consequences, as well as benefits. These exist in a workplace, but this blog will be focused on a slightly different outlet, rather than working in the pandemic it will be centered around a different form of work— learning and teaching during a pandemic. Within our realm of remote existence during a pandemic, lies our school system. 

            Students are in some of the most important years in many their lives and the circumstances they are learning under are wildly different from their predecessors. There is a sense of a barrier in learning through a computer or even with a mask on. Teachers have reflected on the unexpected barrier a mask gives, especially this fall as teachers meet new students and are unfamiliar with their faces. Masks are undeniably a necessity in classrooms, but in their use lies that barrier between students and teachers. Schools contain a sense of human connection and a hunger for learning and new experiences, it now falls upon the faculty and schools to make certain that the pandemic does not muffle this desire for knowledge and connection; an unprecedented task for our unprecedented reality. 

            Students and teachers are existing in a new sense of normal and adapting to acquiring knowledge and life skills in far different realities than last September. As a college student in this pandemic I have had ample time to acquire the study skills necessary to succeed in academic settings and I still struggled with online learning this past spring. The majority of students are currently learning these study skills amidst a rather turbulent learning environment and it is important to acknowledge and nurture this fact. They are not only obtaining new knowledge like every other year; they are also learning how to learn under these circumstances; just as teachers are learning how to teach. While the students are learning online or with masks and social distance, the teachers are learning alongside them, all while teaching! It is important to address the newfound relationship between students and teachers, a sort of comradery along with the general sense of uncertainty that is touching everyone. There is often times a perception that teachers are somewhat of superheroes, holding all of the knowledge. In these times there is truly no one holding all of the knowledge surrounding the pandemic and virus, and that is something that the students are having to reconcile with. Students are reaching of new balance of finding out that these teachers and parents are not superheroes and that they are just as confused and helpless as the rest of us. The fragments of reality are shifting in a place where ideally students would be able to come to find comfort and normalcy. COVID has seeped into the metaphorical walls of our school system and the educators are dealing with the many consequences of a pandemic. The most important years in student’s lives are shifting along with their teachers and both must find new ways to succeed within whatever new form of classroom they have been placed. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and please leave any thoughts below!

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