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  • Writer's pictureKaren Lee Mah

COVID-19 and Schooling: A 12th Grade Perspective

It has been hard. For all the seniors spending their last semester of high school at home, I feel for you. When my son first told me, his school told him to clean out his locker, take all his books and “go home”, I was in disbelief. Surely a couple of weeks I told myself – 8 weeks later, we take a look back.

School moving online is not easy for students or teachers. From his perspective the majority of his teachers were not communicating with students and giving them busy work. “Classes” are more detrimental – with teachers not actually teaching at the usual day/time but rather scheduling “assignments” and tests at the same time. Communication breakdown for sure.

He is sad about no graduation plans or prom. Senior breakfast, recognition night, grad night, assemblies, all just on a 2-page list we received before Covid. The school photographer offered to “photoshop” our senior’s faces for the yearbook. It made me wondered how it would look with all boys having the “same” torso – or should we check off “slim”, “average”, and “husky”?

When I offered to purchase a senior “lawn sign” he found it ridiculous, and he detest the neighborhood noise created by drive-by graduation caravans. He was an absolute “no” to the “Class of 2020” t-shirts with the zeroes in the image of toilet paper rolls.

He sorely misses his friends, especially this last semester when they were supposed to breathe easier, college acceptances in hand, and a school trip planned after the APs (let us not even mention those). He has said social media still allows him to be in contact with them, but like our work Zooms, there is no replacement for the face to face.

I know teachers have been asked to do something they did not sign up for either, many lacking the skills or tools to teach and manage online and many needing to homeschool their own children as well. Perhaps teachers are like actors. An actor needs a stage, and a teacher needs their classroom. There is magic when both actor/audience and teacher/students come together for a shared experience. There are illuminating sparks in a live class where learning happens amongst classmates, ideas ebb and flow and concepts are understood. There is beauty in learning, there is joy in a classroom and the sound of the school bell will be sweet when we are able to hear it again.

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