A Letter to Students
Our hearts are hurting for you. We are facing an unexpected and worrisome time in history as many of us have been forced to say goodbye to friends and put our lives on hold as we work to navigate through life's latest challenges of COVID-19. These are circumstances unlike any other.
With many milestone events such as graduation ceremonies, sporting games or final competitions pulled away, spring breaks and perhaps summer vacations put on hold, and now trying to navigate a new world of learning and communication practically overnight, there’s a lot weighing down on you.
At a time in our lives when we are supposed to be celebrating incredible achievements and friendships made, we are being thrown into new challenges of social distancing and e-learning. It’s important to acknowledge the feelings and struggles that you may be experiencing. It’s okay to take a step back and really think about what this means for you. Take a deep breath. Know your feelings and emotions are valid. You certainly are not alone.
Remote learning has quickly become a new reality for students worldwide. While some of you may be thankful to snuggle up in bed with your laptops all day, others are finding it difficult to be at home in front of a screen instead of their classrooms. Resources such as tutors, libraries, or one-on-one time with your teachers or fellow classmates suddenly feel out of reach.
It is essential during this time, to know when, and how to ask for help. Don’t be ashamed to share concerns you may have about these new learning environments with your parents or educators. This is a new territory for many of them too. Emotions and stress may be running high among everyone. If we can do anything for one another during this time, it’s to communicate openly and honestly and share these concerns with each other.
If you are attempting hands-on learning classes such as gym, art, or sewing online, you may be worried and confused, wondering how you are going to survive these online environments. Likely, your fellow classmates are having similar thoughts. Remember, educators came into this year prepared to teach in their classrooms. And parents relied on them to do so. Now, your teachers are working tirelessly to learn an entirely new way of teaching with very little preparation. Remember, as hard as this is for you, parents and educators are trying to hold themselves together too. Remember to work with them and not against them. They are here to help you!
Keep in mind, as much as we’d like to just consider this time an extended spring break and perhaps just move right into summer without too much responsibility weighing on us, the world is doing its best to keep moving forward. Because it has to. That includes ensuring your education carries without too much-added disruption. To combat this change in the learning environment, we truly hope you can work to make the best of this incredibly difficult time in our lives.
Do what works best for you, but if you’re finding yourself struggling, try to create (if you haven’t already) and stick with a routine. To get your mind focused on classroom instruction from the comfort of your home, try starting the morning by getting up at the same time each day. Eat your breakfast! And get dressed as if you were attending class in person. If you create a separate space in your home to commit to your assignments, it can help your mind differentiate free time versus work time. You might hate us for this one, but we HIGHLY suggest keeping your phone in another room when completing your schoolwork. We know these devices are attached to all of us now, but if you can get rid of your biggest distraction, you’ll accomplish so much more- and faster.
And when the school work is complete- use this time to take advantage of the incredible technology available to us and use it to bring you a bit closer to those that matter most to you.
As the world feels like it is coming to a standstill, now might be an okay time (parent -permitting) to keep those Snapchat streaks alive and well. Make sure your focus remains positive as much as it can during this difficult time, and try not to worry so much about all of those followers. Remember to use this as a time to bridge the gap between the inside world and the outside, and not as a tool to fuel your stress.
With so few months left in the academic year and so many milestones we’ve been looking forward to for so long being put to a halt, we know how incredibly disappointed you are. You are a part of an incredible piece of history that your children will be learning about one day. Document your days, share your grief, spread kindness and joy wherever you can. Someday, we hope to look back upon this moment as a turning point in history as we are all called to realize what truly matters. Whether you wear that prom dress or not (we hope you do and dance in your homes to your heart’s content!) or walk down that aisle to get your diploma, your biggest cheerleaders are rooting for you no matter what. Your family loves you. Your teachers want nothing but the best for you. You have accomplished so very much. And we know you’ll continue to do so!
Hopefully, life will begin to start feeling a little more like “normal” soon. Not today, not tomorrow, but this time in our lives will pass. Until then, take care of yourselves, and keep moving forward at your own pace. One foot in front of the next.