Pandemic impacts students’ academic performance and teachers respond


Remote learning during this unprecedented time of pandemic can make school very difficult for many students and teachers. Unfortunately, remote learning has caused an impact on students as evident by a lack of performance and their academic priorities. Meanwhile, teachers are concerned about the students and how to respond to their struggles.

Dawn Chantos, a Social Studies teacher, has students who are failing in her class. “I am very concerned about my students and their grades and performance in my classes, especially in this unique time. I am very proud of how they persevere and continue to adjust to the changes in instruction.” Chantos said.

To support the students who are feeling out of touch, Chantos tries to maintain individual communication with students and allow them the space to get to know each other during class.

Jennifer O’Connor, an English teacher, has concerns around assessing her students’ success in a remote/hybrid environment.

“That concern is heightened as I want my students’ grades to reflect what they’re capable of and in this environment that can be a challenge with some students.”

Some students from her class are doing really well in this environment while other students are “struggling to stay focused and complete tasks,” she said.

“Students are able to reflect accurately on their own practices. They know if they are procrastinating or struggling or should get help, but they don’t always take advantage of that help.” said O’Connor, who hoped for students to become successful in her class.

Freshman student Joseph Canton Ahlgrim says he is doing well in this environment and he is not worried about failing.

“I’m not really concerned about my grades because I’m doing pretty well. I am capable of doing things at my own pace,” said Canton Ahlgrim.

Freshman student Alivia Adams shared, “It’s hard, and it’s bad for our mental health and that they need to go easy on us.”

Adams is very concerned about the situation because the experiences that they are currently facing feel very different from our experiences in the past before the pandemic hit. She said that she is “not in a learning environment”, so she finds it “hard and confusing to learn.”

There are ways that this problem could be successfully addressed. According to Chantos, her students are doing well because she is willing to be flexible.

“Some students are thriving and completing all work assigned and doing well, others need more support and I try to be flexible with them so they don’t fall behind,” Chantos said.

She is determined to keep Schoology as organized and user-friendly as possible. She also spends a lot of time helping them individually in class.

“Teachers all have to be very supportive and positive with their students during this time.” Chantos said.

If any students fail, Chantos said, “Students should always take failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. We all fail, and sometimes in life we learn more from our failures than our successes. I hope they will use that experience to try that class again and improve.”

O’Connor’s solutions are similar to those that she would put in place in a normal school year. She helps failing students by bringing them opportunities for retakes, turning in late work, focusing on assignments that matter the most in terms of demonstrating their learning.

“These are all practices I’ve had before and have continued in this environment.” said O’Connor.

Chantos said, “Students need to understand that teachers understand and they are here to support them.”