The United States education system tends to face many challenges, but no one could have predicted the pandemic that suddenly closed the doors of schools across the nation.
“The students are having to wear masks, and there is social distancing having to be maintained in the school building. The students also don’t have lockers now, so they are having to carry backpacks everyday,” said Kaleigh Bray, senior Education major.
The stress on students in school during the pandemic branches outside of the school building as well. Outside of school, a portion of students living in poverty have gone without care, and the mental health of students has declined.
The shutdown and COVID-19 guidelines of schools has made school more difficult for both students and teachers. For instance, the lack of extracurricular activities and isolation has created a downfall on the mental health of many students.
Furthermore, the education system did not foresee a shutdown that would lead to uncertainty and a fall of the performance of children. As a result, teachers have had to be creative and discover new methods to teach students despite the lack of face-to-face interaction at times as well as the technological limitations encountered by families without devices and/or Internet service. In regards to each of these difficulties, the desire to overcome these challenges has been a primary goal for stakeholders in education.
“I also have to be much more intentional about my relationships with each of my students...asking them questions about their life, them, their day. I know that in the future I will continue to do this because they are so special, and it’s so fun getting to know their hearts more,” Kendall Davis, senior Education major, said. She has made it her goal to ensure that students’ mental health is a top priority.
“Kids are so adaptable; it’s amazing,” Davis said when asked how her students are handling the changes that have resulted from new guidelines.
She discussed the many ways she has been impressed by them.
“They’re like little sponges that are so interested in learning more about what’s going on in our world! Overall, they have handled the changes very well and have a firm understanding of why life looks a little different right now,” Davis said.
Bray has also been able to develop the important skill of being able to adapt to the situations at hand.
“I believe this will help me because I’ve been able to be involved in those adaptations and learn how to reach each student, whether those students are in person or at home. I think reaching every student at his or her level is the best thing a teacher can learn to do,” Bray said.
While providing a quality education during a pandemic is uncharted territory for educators of today, the adjustments that have been made have allowed the safest possible learning situation for students.
In regards to Tech students completing their Residency or Student Teaching, their experience may be different compared to those from previous years, but some of the most valuable lessons come from the most difficult times.
The ability to rise up in the face of adversity is what will allow our future teachers and children to become the leaders of tomorrow through their resiliency and determination.