The 2020-2021 school year was a difficult time for many as they balanced the shift in academic comprehension and personal life delivered by the pandemic. Alterations to curriculum, class length, and start time were established to structure a distance learning model, and their reception was mixed. However, the 2021-2022 school year is striving to be a return to form—or as close as can be developed—and students across grade levels will be facing new or recovered experiences.
As I surveyed students, many represented the tentative nature of this transition. An upcoming junior, Hailey Pica, responded, “I don’t really care...I don’t even know what we are doing” as I broached the concept of a different start time. It will likely be a tough scenario for many, but Azizah Bassa, a fellow upcoming junior, puts it eloquently, “I think that the change from a 10:00 start time [to an earlier start time] will be slightly difficult to adjust to, especially as the school year kicks off, but I do feel like the earlier start will help the 2021-2022 school year fell more normal, as it is close to the way things were before the pandemic.”
An earlier start time is intended as a measure of stability in addition to its familiarity, and many students called for forms of stability as they sought changes for the 2021-2022 school year. Academic goals, but not outcomes, were reported by many. Pica stated, “I don’t even know...I mean hopefully we learn. That is my big expectation,” and upcoming junior Dawson Ly said, “...I hope the biggest change from this year to next year is the effort put into classes by students, because a lot of students just gave up this year.” These remarks reflect motivation largely to move forward, an understandable sentiment as the 2020-2021 school year was a feat by students and faculty, but a few responses displayed a desire for considerate transition rather than outright return.
“I hope that the school will give extra help [to] students who fell behind in their credits in the previous school years,” wished upcoming junior Lilly Brewer, advancing Ly’s insight. The academic implications of physically returning are a popular contemplation, and upcoming senior Abby Meyers shared the perspective of assisting students. “I hope that...school will be able to go back normally, but keep some of the online programs because turning in assignments online is way easier.” Categorizing advantages, necessities, and losses of the 2020-2021 school year will be another unique process for teachers as they curate the curriculum of the 2021-2022 school year, especially in the light of student performance. Upcoming junior Hayley Downs contextualizes these developments astutely. “I honestly hope that being in person will help everyone to adjust [to] socialization once again. I know when I started hybrid learning, I was really scared to meet new people and have to talk to people in person again. I hope that there will be support systems in place for those who feel as I did.”
As we settle into the 2021-2022 school year, it’s likely that we will all share a similar first lesson: patience may be the greatest guide. (If that’s due to personal learning curves or tardies, we can decide.)