The last two years for students have been strange. Whether they were learning online, hybrid, or fully in person, students have been struggling. Totino-Grace students and teachers feel that there are gaps in students’ education because of this.
Totino-Grace High School, a college preparatory school, has always been a destination for students and families looking for a more rigorous learning experience. Last year, Totino-Grace attempted to return to in-person learning. They also offered an online option.
Although the school was able to maintain in-person learning all year long, many students got quarantined multiple times throughout the year. These quarantines added an extra barrier in-between students and their education. They were forced to learn online instead of remaining in person with their classmates.
TG senior Alex Cran said, “Yes, it was difficult to learn online with a lot of distractions and no opportunities to interact with teachers and classmates.”
In the school’s core classes: math, science, social studies, and English, many students have these gaps. They are expected to know certain topics that their classes in the last two years simply did not have time to get to.
Tim Glynn, a math teacher at Totino-Grace, said that they did not cover the same amount of material, meaning some topics were simply left out because of the time frame and class schedules of the past years.
Many feel, however, that these gaps in education were unavoidable. “It was a well-oiled machine,” Glynn said. “We figured it out the best.”
Aside from teachers, students feel the same. Owen Robinson, a senior at Totino-Grace, said, “I think it was a rough time for both teachers and students. I think there was no way to have prepared and to have been fully ready for those gaps in learning.”
COVID learning, however, has done more to students than just leaving gaps in their education. Many students at Totino-Grace have developed some form of a lack of effort or desire to learn.
“I think having that time at home and not being challenged made me lazier and made me less motivated to get work done even to this day. I feel more tired with school and overall my productivity has decreased,” Robinson said.
Some students also stated that because teachers are trying to catch them from years past, they are piling on the work and overwhelming their students. “I think since we have been back in school teachers have been trying to catch up with what we missed the last 2 years and students are overwhelmed by all the piled on work all of a sudden,” Cran said.
From a teacher’s perspective, however, Glynn said how students are giving him more excuses than ever. Because students were not as challenged, as Robinson said, in the last two years, they are developing this “overwhelmed” and “unmotivated” feeling towards school. Now that Totino-Grace is back in person, it is more rigorous learning.
Along with their learning deficits, students have forgotten how to behave in a school-appropriate manner. “Learning is a social thing, and we were deprived of that,” Robinson said. Students are learning how to adjust back to a rigorous learning schedule while working through learning-related behavioral struggles that they developed while online.