High School Students Weigh In…

February 18, 2021

High school students who are members of the Social Redesign Network team in Swink School District share what’s on their mind. These students have attended their senior year of high school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: Screen shot from student interview via Zoom

…on COVID and Remote Learning:

“My motivation has either been very up or very low. Being home, I feel like it is not a place where I want to work, and it was hard to get my mind to switch into ‘you have to do school.’ When I’m at school, I feed off of all my peers’ energy – we’re blessed that we can be here in school now. “

“The adults who are talking about the situation didn’t go to school during a pandemic; they don’t know the struggles that students go through during a pandemic – the lack of motivation and all that.”

“It angers me when I hear adults saying ‘you’re online, it should be easier,’ or ‘you have free time because you’re always home.’ It’s the environment that’s not the same. For seniors who went to three years of normal high school, and then our senior year was just cut out and everything changed–it was really hard to adjust. I know a lot of students are struggling with it mentally.”

“A lot times things don’t even work when I’m online, and people say it’s technology-based so it should be easy.”

…on their SERN experience:

“I’m involved in something that could be good, from my own personal experience, and that is getting students prepared for college and life after high school sooner.”

“My group is trying to build relationships, and that in itself will bring students and teachers closer together. We’re not just focusing on student-teacher relationships, but also student-student relationships and teacher-teacher relationships. I think that will help bring our school community together.”

“It has definitely been a good way to build leadership skills. We came into this not knowing what would happen, but here we are leading circle times and leading  this team. The new members are going to be in our position someday and hopefully will be making a change at our school, having a voice, and giving other people a voice.”

…on plans after high school:

“I was accepted to UNC and I’m really excited to go to a big school. But I was discussing it with my mom, and if things are going to be all online, I don’t see the need to go… I’d rather stay here at home.”

“I’m going to Adams State University. I feel a little bit nervous, being away from my family, and the uncertainty of everything, but I think I will do just fine.”

“I want to study music at CU Boulder. Through the experience of going off and on with remote learning, we do have good experience to be able to manage what’s next.”

… advice for incoming seniors:

“Stay motivated, even though it is hard, and senioritis is very, very real. This is the time that you have to push through, to get the GPA you want… this is the time to do it.”

“Focus on relationships with your teachers, and if you are going to college, work on relationships with the admissions counselors so you have people to talk to when you get to college.”

“Stay motivated. Hopefully all of this will be over by then, but if not, do your best to make it through another year. Work on scholarships if you’re going to college, and if not, have a plan laid out.”

…advice for teachers:

“Our teachers here are doing a good job, so I would say keep it up…try to understand what we’re going through.”

“If we go to remote learning again, take it slow. When we got sent home last spring, some teachers were assigning a whole bunch of work without lectures and expecting us to know what to do. Stay connected; build the relationships.”

“Check on your students and see how they’re doing. If it is a hard time, the mental health of the students is extremely important. At the beginning of remote learning, I struggled with getting all of my work done, some teachers seemed to focus more on trying to make up for not being at school by assigning a lot of homework.”

…hopes for Swink in the future:

“Students interacting more with each other in terms of groups of students, not just certain people interacting with certain groups, but the entire student body coming together as one.”

“I want to see circle time be more respected as a thing to dive deep into students’ lives and give students the opportunity to express how they’re feeling that day. They might not always have that at home or with their regular group of friends.”

“In years to come I want to see the school be more united, more as one, more school spirit.”

Read more about the Social Emotional Redesign Network at Swink School District