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Students Adjust to...

By Valeria QuezadaDuring this time, students are having to attend school during a pandemic. Although it is not traditional school, many schoolshave adopted different methods of providing their students with their necessary education. Students must receive their education;it doesn’t stop just because of a global pandemic. Most schools have adopted hybrid models, 100% online schooling, or a 50/50 blend. Forinstance, the school district here in Carlsbad, New Mexico, has created a hybrid model as well as an online school plan. While everyone waits for students to return to school on a two-day hybrid plan, students are receiving their education right to their home. Which for sure has been something everyone is still adjusting to.Most high school students and college studentsalready have a feel for online education, having had previous online classes. Those who have the most trouble adjusting are the kids who only have face-to-face interaction -middle schoolers, elementary school kids, and kindergartners!For instance, twelve-year-old Trinity Griego who would be attending her first year at Carlsbad Intermediate school is having to adjust to this new schooling program. “Staying still while completing my assignments is my biggest challenge. I find it difficult tofocus when completing day long assignments in the comfort of my home,” she explains. The thing most students miss the most is being able to interact with their friends at school, teacher, and other staff members. Nobody realizes, but all those teachers and staff members have an important impact on a student’s education. Trinity says, “I don’t think COVID really affected my education, other than messing up school semesters and putting us behind timewise.”Trinity hopes she will be able to learn to manage her time since doing online schooling has currently helped her actually finish her assignments on a better schedule. Of course, the stress can become overwhelming, but Trinity advises this –“Take short breaks, it helps you stay calm and focused when taking online classes.”Cadie Pulice, a sixteen-year-old junior at the Carlsbad Early College High School describes her biggest struggle, “The biggest challenge so far is not being able to talk to my teachers face to face and learn face to face. Learning over videos and basically self-teaching isn’t what I signed up to do, nor what I think is best for me.” At the Early College most students begin online courses through the college their junior year. Typically, they must adjust to this, but now more than ever it is challenging because they don’t have the same in-person teacher support from the staff at the Early College. Most students rely on face-to-face help on a daily basis to successfully do their schoolwork. Cadie says, “I miss being able to get help anytime I needed and not being overwhelmed with so much online work. I feel like the pandemic has made it more difficult to do my work and get a good grade on what I am doing. I am someone who gets distracted and less motivated very easily, and when I am in person learning, there’s less chance of that.”Most students don’t look forward to getting up and going school early in the morning, but now they miss it. Cadie says, “I used to despise waking up and having to walk into those buildings, when now it’s the only thing I want to do.” Cadie, like many other students, are learning to appreciate and not take for granted attending school in person. Hopefully in the near future students are able to make their return to in-school learning, but for now this has become the new“normal.” Cadie advises her fellow students, “Keep your head up and do the best you can.”On the college spectrum, Sarah Albright, who graduated from the Carlsbad High School this year and is currently attending NMSU in Las Cruces, has had her college plans completely flipped upside down. She is not receiving the “dream” college experience due to college limitations during the pandemic. Sarah says, “My biggest challenge with school is not being able to ask my teachers questions while they teach. I stillcan over zoom but it is much more challenging now then it was in class where I could just simply raise my hand. Doing classes over zoom can cause me anxiety to where I don’t want to speak up and ask for help when I need it.”One of the biggest issues many teens are facing is making new friends at their new college. Sarah is on her first year in a new city and school, she has to make friends some other way because she does not have classes.Sarah explains, “It’s not the same as meeting someone in a classroom or while sitting down at the dining hall or going to events. With mostly everything being virtual, it can be difficult to start a conversation between two people and make a connection.” Sarahhopes this experience will help her speak up when she needs help more often. “I am going to have to learn how to ask my teachers questions either through emails or going to their virtual office hours without being anxious about it. I hope that after this I can be more confident asking help without feeling like I’m stupid for not understanding the content,” Sarah says. Of course, navigating a new college, or any school, without having face-to-face interaction is difficult. But there are so many things any student or parent can do to stay on track. Sarah advises, “My advice would be to keep a planner! Online school can be quite challenging. Essentially you are teaching yourself and you have to keep yourself accountable for deadlines. I amcurrently in six classes and their due dates can being a little bit scrambledup in my head. It really helps to write it all down and have a visual of what your upcoming week is going to look like.” Many challenges arise with completing online schooling. Students do not receive the same attention and help from a teacher asthey would with face-to-face interaction. Then, the responsibility of providing that help often falls upon parents or guardians. Who most of which also have trouble navigating the online schooling world. It’s a whole new world for them. 100% online schooling can cause stress, educational issues, and be challenging in general. This also affects the teachers, especially those that do not have practicewith online schooling. Their worry is about providing enough help and making sure their students feel prepared. Although, this period of online education can also serve as an advantage. It can prepare students for any situation, just like this one or similar, that could happen years into the future. It also helps students with improving their computer skills, communication skills, discipline themselves, etc. It has been a huge adjustment for everyone, teachers, students, and parents are all having to adjust to these different conditions. More than ever, the students need support and encouragement to keep going forward in these odd times.

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