Last year was rough for all, but especially for the students in the Class of 2024. Though it was the first year of high school for current sophomore students, the year had frustrations that took away from that experience.
The Class of 2024 started their freshman year online. We didn’t get to look around the school or originally meet their teachers in person. Some students didn’t understand basic high school norms until starting back in person a while later; I was one of those students.
Students of last year had to do their classes at home and attempt to learn through Webex. There were countless freshman year events that the Class of 2024 missed out on, including field trips, fairs, parades, assemblies, spirit weeks, school dances, and all the traditional high school sports games. For a first year of high school, very little high school events were actually experienced by current sophomore students.
There were also some concerns about high school that students had that stemmed from learning online their freshman year. More homework was assigned during online learning than in previous years. There was a lack of successful academic performance and students had a higher dependence on electronics. Social anxiety has also been a consequence of online learning for some. This can include being afraid to speak in class and ask the teacher for help when needed.
Coach Klatt, PE teacher and MHS football coach, taught some of the Class of 2024 last school year. He said, “Academic performance went way down. Students were not turning assignments in and they were not participating. Performance was at an all-time low.”
There were so many problems that resulted from class being taught behind a screen. It was hard to focus, and it was very easy to get distracted.
That was our freshman year.
Coach Klatt said, “Students stopped talking and communicating. There was zero socialization [during the peak of the pandemic].” He warned that isolation can be an enemy to social growth.
COVID-19 created new challenges in education for both the students and teachers. Quarantines led to classmates losing connections with friends and peers. Once students came to school in hybrid form, I personally noticed some students didn’t have the social strength to raise their hands and discuss lesson content.
The first year of high school teaches crucial basic high school norms and builds social character. All those experiences and opportunities for growth were taken away from the Class of 2024.