From a Classroom To a Computer in Just Two Weeks

Just how have the impacts of COVID-19 been felt by students, and what are the ramifications to long-term goals?

From a Classroom To a Computer in Just Two Weeks

It’s understandable to feel concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on students, teachers, and overall education. For almost three years, our lives were put on pause. The COVID-19 lockdown has affected our world in many ways. Generations that have been involved in COVID-19 have had to adapt to all kinds of changes. Due to lock down there has been a loss in socialization, extracurricular activities and causing a negative toll on the mental health of many young students. 

As a result of this, behavior in younger generations of students has shifted drastically. Regardless of the shift in behavior, many students have had no choice but to learn how to adapt to online learning and have found new ways to stay motivated. Though this is not the case for all. The pandemic has led to increased flexibility in grading and college admissions, but along with that, many individuals have had struggles and difficulty working around the abruption COVID-19 has caused on the education system. 

As a group, we wanted to take a deeper look into these issues that have occurred since COVID-19 hit. We sent out multiple surveys to a variety of people involved in the education system. When reaching out, we received responses to how COVID-19 has affected their learning experiences. As a result of this research, we have gathered a better understanding of ways students have stayed motivated and stayed driven during and in the aftermath of COVID-19.

Have students had to reevaluate their future goals and plans because of COVID-19? Have former graduates felt unprepared for college and for their future due to the lost time in in-person school? How did COVID-19 affect the graduating class of 2023? Did COVID-19 affect teachers just as much as students?

To get answers to these proposed questions, three surveys each consisting of 30 responses, made by Truckee High students were distributed amongst different social groups in the educational system. The three surveys consisted of former graduates, the class of 2023, and teachers. Each survey revolved around the impacts left on each group of these individuals. “How Have You Been Impacted?” Although the surveys shared the same title, each survey was different to resonate to each group. The questions were designed to target how COVID-19 has affected each person individually and to get an overall understanding of the effects of COVID-19

has had on the educational system as a whole. 

The first survey that was sent out was to the former group of graduates that had recently progressed into their college pathways after a very difficult journey. We asked an assortment of clarifying questions to get a better idea of ways they chose to cope when being involved in a worldwide pandemic We had asked them if any changes were made to their initial plan/ideas for the future as a result of the pandemic, and surprisingly 75% of our responders said no, not at all. This was only surprising because of how hard it was for others to have the motivation to even wake up in the morning.

One student said “Honestly Covid has barely affected my goals and objectives in life. During online school, I was able to really focus on school and studying which is likely why I am such a good student at present.” Later on, when we asked if at any point they had felt unprepared to graduate because of the loss of time in in-person instruction, about half had responded with “Yes, but I was able to overcome it and figure out how to get back on track pretty easily.” This was not as much of a surprise, because, with the plans they had already had expectations to meet, they were not going to let a little inconvenience with the pandemic change that pathway for them.

Though COVID-19 didn’t have as much of an impact on the motivation and drive of these students’ futures, it definitely changed many perspectives and opened many eyes to how hard some have to perform daily. Some students felt they had only gotten 2 full years of high school, one mentions “I was taught a lot about how us as students can adapt and overcome challenges as well as do a lot of classes online with everything else going on around us.” COVID-19 definitely left a worldwide impact on these graduates of 2022, but overall lessons were learned and I don’t think any one of them will ever forget their experience.

Our second survey was sent out to our school’s class of 2023. Our main objective was to understand how the pandemic has affected them as students who transitioned to high school during the peak of the pandemic. As students who got to experience very little of their first years of high school, it is interesting to learn how they had been impacted by the pandemic, the challenges they faced, and the resources they found helpful during that difficult period.

Our first question; What has made the process of graduating and staying on top of schoolwork difficult? Almost every response we received included the word “motivation.” One student said “The motivation to do it. From being online and not really having to do the school work and trying and coming back to school and graveling to relearn to get motivated and even how to study for tests.” another explained “Better help from counselors and teachers to make sure we make deadlines for applications. Also as a senior, having to read books in SS verse working on college essays was not ideal. School sports were also difficult to balance on top of school and college essays.” Motivation in everyone’s eyes seemed to be one of the biggest factors in order to succeed. Without it not many did. 

We asked for ways they were able to sustain themselves. Some said friends and family, others said teacher support, but one said “Knowing that I will not have to do school work for a while.” Meaning in order to stay motivated, they had to work as hard as they could even if it seemed like the worst thing in the world in order to reach their goal of graduating and going off on their journey to college. 

The pandemic limited my ability to get involved in school activities and apply for summer programs and internships. It is unfortunate because covid affected us in very important years of high school where you set up a basis for what you’ve been involved in the rest of high school.

The way these individuals dealt with the aftermath of the pandemic and what impacts had happened as a result of the pandemic. Here were some responses: “My parents lost their job” one said and another said, “The pandemic limited my ability to get involved in school activities and apply for summer programs and internships. It is unfortunate because covid affected us in very important years of high school where you set up a basis for what you’ve been involved in the rest of high school.” Both of these responses, though very different, have the power to alter futures for everyone all around. Some solutions students came up with to cope with these difficult stressful times include a well-balanced schedule between academic and social life. Another said getting involved with as much as possible to stay busy while still keeping enough time to do what was asked of the school. 

From the data collected, almost every student that participated in our surveys included they have had many worries about being fully prepared and qualified for the future years and what college will bring. As a wrap-up of how these students felt one student added on a separate note: “COVID-19 sucked. Was not a fan. Took a toll on my mental health and hated online school. I didn’t learn anything because I’m a visual learner and you mostly had to listen to things. Honestly, I didn’t think it would end and didn’t know what I was going to do if it didn’t. I hate having to relearn how to do things that I shouldn’t have to relearn.” In comparison to our former grads, we received a massive change in response.

Our third and final survey was sent to teachers and staff. Many know that the pandemic impacted students greatly, but some seize to remember that teachers and staff have been significantly affected throughout this time as well. Having to adapt to new teaching methods and work with their students in a way that they will really enjoy learning is equally as difficult as students adapting to new learning environments. Despite the many challenges teachers and staff have run into, they all continued to work to provide the best possible education for the students. 

When asked if the teachers saw an impact in the motivation and drive at school, 71% of our respondents said they saw a change in both students and their own motivational drive, while the other 29% responded that they saw a change in only the students. The responses to the other question helped us determine why some teachers had an easier time than others. When the question was asked if they enjoyed online teaching 66% said No while 34% said they either thought it was fine or loved it. Many people are more productive at home as they are more comfortable, which could be a reason why some teachers’ motivation had not changed or even improved while online teaching. While some may be more productive due to the location in which they are learning this is not always true. Many feel more motivated at school when being taught directly face to face. Some students need that extra push from our staff and teacher; we need someone to hold us accountable and hold us to what needs to be done. 

Later on, we went on to ask if they have seen a change in their students before and after the pandemic. One respondent said “Yes, there is a delay in the onset of maturity. Students have less ability to navigate stressful social, academic, and personal situations now.” While another stated “I think more students than ever are exploring self-guided learning including passion projects and online classes. The level of self-directed education seems to have a positive impact in the post-covid period”. There are definitely pros and cons due to the result of the pandemic as we can see from this not only relatable but very reliable data. 

We noticed students learned more about how to communicate with teachers outside of school which can be really helpful with at-home work. However, many teachers dislike the use of technology and many have recently noticed since we have gotten back to our everyday in-person school routine, kids rely on their technology for a large number of things. One teacher even stated, “The addiction and overuse of technology that kept most people going during the pandemic, has continued even though people are back in public interacting.” The teacher then proceeds to say the comfort of having technology in school is becoming “scary”. It is obvious that teachers have many mixed feelings about how the pandemic affected them and their students. Overall we did see from the outcome of the survey there were certainly benefits to online education, however, the majority of the respondents believe it resulted in more challenges and problems for in-person teaching. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching effects on the education systems across the board. With schools closed and the shift to online learning, it’s been a couple of challenging years for both teachers and students. COVID-19 has isolated humans as a whole from the real world. Despite the many challenges that had resulted after the pandemic; many individuals had to face what no one would ever really imagine. Society since the pandemic has not stopped fighting for the lost time, humanity has gained exposure to resilience and adaptability. These changes have been especially showcased in students. Students have learned new ways of learning which include new styles of studying, collaborating, and communicating with teachers and peers all while dealing with the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic. It’s important to take the lessons everyone has learned and continue to push to achieve our goals. Even though many have dealt with the decrease in motivation and drive, we all as humans still continue to make progress even in the face of adversity.