No one thought at this time last year that we would be remote learning due to a pandemic. In recent months, children have been at home more than at school. The “new normal” is affecting students as well as parents. How is it affecting children?
Adam Davis is a parent of two girls attending remote learning while Adam is working from home. He said, “It’s tiring for both the kids and the parents. They’re given work to get it done, not to learn.” The teachers in every district are doing everything they can to make remote learning as normal as possible. Normal is not what this pandemic has amounted to. For many, the changes made focus on the logistics of being at home, not on the needs of the children while they are at home.
Aleshanee Brannigan, a mother of four, is seeing the outcome on her daughter, “My child tends to feel left out and not ‘heard.’ Literally not heard, because she is usually muted.” While COVID-19 is very real, so is the mental health pandemic sweeping through our children.
Children in the Monmouth Memorial School had recess up to three times a day while attending in-person classes. Their recesses now consist of time at home with their family, while being isolated from their friends.
Educators are doing their best to encourage engagement. It is not an easy task. Katie LeFreniere is a teacher in southern Maine. She took some time to reflect on how remote learning has affected her students’ work. “As an educator, my experiences with my fully remote students show that fully remote students are either flourishing or failing with no in between. I have students that I communicate with daily and who turn everything in on time. However, I also have students who haven’t completed any work and who don’t respond to my repeated attempts at communication.”
Moving through the last few months has been hard, and it does not appear to be getting any easier. While the effects on each of our children is different, there needs to be a stronger community focus on supporting our teachers and our students.