How Students and Teachers Are Conquering The Mental Challenges In This School Year

The challenges and mental affects many have been through, throughout the COVID_19 pandemic

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Photo Courtesy of Maddie Sales Silver Creek High School preparing for it’s final weeks of school as students and teachers finishing their final assignments.

This year has been very challenging and hard especially in the school department for students and teachers. Many things have changed from a normal school routine for all of the K-12 grades in every school around the world. COVID-19 has been the biggest challenge because of the masks, social distancing, and just being separated from everyone.

A lot of students have been struggling mentally with these changes and it has affected mental health a lot. It has been over a year since the pandemic hit. At first schools shut down and students and teachers had to learn how to work online. There are many challenges just within this considering all the technology and all the things that come along with it. A lot of students don’t have access to wifi or a device at home from where they can learn from. This makes it very hard to do work knowing that many teachers now do work through video chat systems like Cisco Webex or Zoom. Many also don’t work as well on devices rather than being in person and getting the full learning experience.

The pandemic has been hard on all teachers as well. A lot of people are still new to the whole COVID lifestyle and, to this day, still learning how to work with what we have everyday.

Mrs. Gerner, who is one of Silver Creeks High Schools counselors and interventionists, spoke about these challenges and what she’s seen through this year with a lot of students. “There’s been an increase in lack of motivation for sure. I’ve seen that more this year then any year before, and so much of how you can kind of almost force yourself to find motivation is by having a structure and routine, and there’s been nothing about this year that’s had a structure or routine. There’s been a lot of sense of loss and grief. Those are two big things that I’m seeing a lot of this year too and not just grief and loss around loved ones, but grief and loss around not being able to hit those milestones [homecoming, high school prom, finals week, football nights, graduation, etc;]”

This school year has definitely not been on track maintaining a normalized schedule. Students have gone back and forth between being online and in person also being given the choice to stay completely online or in school.

Speaking to Mrs. Gerner, her perspective shows the learning challenges she has faced from this year as well. “Connecting with students…it’s a lot harder when they’re not here and I can’t walk down the hall and grab a kid out of class. It’s a lot easier to not answer an email or answer your phone when you see that the interventionist is emailing or calling. It’s a lot easier when you can just walk down the hall and be like hey, come chat with me!”

Children have been struggling to really speak up as well with teachers, parents, and just a trusted adult they can talk to. If a student is feeling unmotivated, “Ask for help. Go to a parent, a trusted adult, counselor, interventists, just ask for help. Loss of motivation is attached to other things that are going on.” Gerner says. These things can be based on school, or at home, or sports, or just not doing work, anything that might be distracting a child and causing them to lose motivation for their work.

There have been many causes to the loss of motivation this year, especially with COVID being such a strong reason, but all students have demonstrated great perseverance through these challenges and finishing the last few weeks of their school year. Everyone is hoping for a more normalized school year very near, in the future!