The COVID-19 pandemic has made both teachers and students miss the classroom environment. With all the advantages online classes provide, they just don’t have the same appeal as a physical classroom setup. While some schools are preparing to offer more space with the use of modular classrooms from companies like Mobile Modular, most are not. Schools have been closed for nearly eight months now and will need to undergo radical changes before they reopen to be COVID-free.
What do students miss most about their school classrooms?
It isn’t often that we hear the words “I miss school” from kids, but even they seem to be tired of this long break. Ask all the little ones who missed their mother when at school last year, and they'll tell you how much they miss their teacher and friends now!
According to The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, over 90% of the world's children have missed out on school due to the coronavirus and they aren't particularly happy about it. Ask the families of these school kids and they will tell you that Jeion's song about missing school is just about perfect.
Attending classes, hugging that favorite teacher, playing outdoors, having lunch with friends, and playing hopscotch during recess are just some of the things this little Rockstar talks about missing at school because of the coronavirus.
Doing school work from home (under mom or dad's watchful eye because they are working from home too) and managing the workload without procrastinating, can become difficult and stressful. Look around you and you will hear stories from families that are struggling to keep their kids occupied, motivated, and happy.
According to a late-March poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, they found that an increasing number of parents are growing concerned their kids are falling behind, especially those from lower-income families.
From going to school or college every single day of the week to being stuck at home for over eight months (and possibly more in the near future) - this is a massive life change that not many people have been able to embrace.
While the country's system continues to grapple with this challenge, the worst affected lot in this pandemic has been that of young people, school-goers, and learners.
So, with the pandemic showing no signs of slowing down, and only some schools beginning in-person classes again, here’s a look at the things that children miss most about going to school:
Quality Time with Friends
The most common reason why children are missing school is that they no longer have an excuse to spend most of their waking hours with their friends. Going to school allowed students to interact with their classmates and friends 5 days a week. Parents are now hesitant to send their children over to a friend’s house due to the nature of the COVID-19 virus.
In a recent interview with The Atlantic, Ronald Dahl, a pediatrician who founded the Center for the Developing Adolescent at UC Berkeley, asserted social skills simply can’t be taught over online platforms. While video calling apps like Facetime and Google Duo allow people to see each other, no amount of technology can replace being able to high-five your friends at will.
“It’s like a sport,” says Dahl. “You need to practice.”
Moving Around the Campus
Many students miss their school’s library, game room, gym, track, basketball court, etc. Staying at home, they do not always have access to such facilities. The simple memories of walking around campus without a care in the world and their friends by their side have gotten students to miss school more than ever.
The buzz, activity, and noise in a school environment are incomparable. This sudden change has left them spending all their time watching TV or indulging in online gaming at home.
Indulging in Extra-Curricular Activities
The loud cheers of children are common during recess, and most children eagerly look forward to everything about their extra-curricular activities as a break from their more educational classes. Not only do these activities allow children to explore their various talents outside the class, but children get to mingle with other kids outside of their study sessions and discuss their lives and passions with their friends.
Staying at home and relying on distance learning has robbed students of this joy. The thing about extra-curricular activities is that they help keep the mind and body fresh and also create a competitive spirit among the students.
According to experts at Spelman College in Georgia, involvement in extracurricular activities can also help boost retention and graduation rates among older students.
Interacting with Their Favorite Teachers
No matter how much a child doesn’t like going to school, they will always have that one teacher’s class that they wouldn’t miss for the world. A favorite teacher teaches well and provides a child with a safe space to talk about what is on their mind. And if the kid happens to be a teacher's pet, he or she is likely to feel even more disconnected because of the lack of that interpersonal connection in the current times.
Teachers act as a guiding presence and as an inspiration to students, especially those in their early teens. While studying online and learning from a teacher via the computer or YouTube videos is great, it cannot be a substitute for that in-person experience.
Of course, students aren’t the only ones who are suffering from that lack of interaction. "I didn't get to properly say goodbye to [my students],” says Jaime Gordon, who teaches third grade at St. Edward-Epiphany Catholic School in Richmond, Va. “I get emotional when I say that. It's really hard to say that out loud," she continued in a recent interview with NPR.
Joining Clubs and Organizations
A major part of a child’s high school experience is becoming a part of a club that represents a particular talent or interest they carry. Children spend extra time at school just to contribute to the club they are a part of, and despite all the homework they may have, they always try to make time for their club responsibilities.
After all, quality school education is a lot more than just lessons and good grades. It is a chance to develop many new skills by learning from other people and interacting with peers.
We never thought that the coronavirus pandemic would have such a lasting impact on education across the country and the world. However, the uncertainty around school and college education means that an entire school year has been compromised in some way or the other.
A school is so much more than just being a place where you go to learn and grow. It is the heart of a school district, an integral part of a child's life, a place where they have fun, and a chance to meet amazing people who become friends for life.
Honestly, we just can't wait for schools to reopen! Some schools are preparing to offer more space so that social distancing norms are met along with the implementation of other health and safety best practices. While family members and teachers are doing everything they can to replicate the learning experience and go on with life in the meantime, it is understandable that children are missing school.
Life has taken an unexpected turn in 2020, but things are slowly starting to look better. Students can look forward to going to class, attending lessons, and gradually getting back to the regular school routine. In the meantime, it is best to find different ways to keep the kids engaged and use this opportunity to inculcate self-discipline and motivation in them.