A New Way of Life for Students and Teachers

Ruby Thomas

Schools all over the nation have changed completely. Classrooms that were once  lively and full of students are now quiet and hold as little as 2 students in each room.

Group work has now become virtual messaging through teams for some students. For others, it’s in-school obstacle as they struggle to communicate with one another from across the room while wearing masks.

Students can no longer enjoy the company of their friends at lunch. Their new companions are the plastic partitions around their desks separating them from those around them as they eat . Once their meals are finished its time for them to put their masks back on.

Students must prepare to take the long route to class as they can now only walk in one direction. Class might be down the hallway to the right, but if traffic is flowing left, they’re going left too.

A poster detailing “hallway etiquette” plays across a television screen in the Ross senior cafeteria. (Ruby Thomas)

Regular classroom capacity used to be around 30 students per room. Now, seeing a classroom of seven students is more typical.

According to Native language arts teacher Katherine Coreas, there are some advantages to having smaller class sizes.

“It’s easier because I can work with them one on one,” she said.

These days taking attendance is more complicated for teachers due to having to take the attendance of both virtual and in person students. However, they have been able to adapt to the changes.

“In the beginning it was hard, but I developed my own system,” Coreas said.

Getting your students to engage in conversation and show emotion virtually and in class is now harder and leaves more room for awkward interactions.

“…My first period class is all remote and I feel like I’m talking to myself,” Coreas said.

Social distancing has become the new way of life for everyone. While some students may look at the changes that have taken place in schools through a negative lens, there are some positives.

Now that students are separated in class, it leaves less room for talking and more room for completing their work. Walking into a class full of students they don’t know may encourage some students to improve their communication skills and branch out of their comfort zones.

The added technology also has its perks. Teams allows work to be all in one place so it may be easier for students to keep tract of their work.

Schools have definitely made it a priority to implement new changes in order to maintain the safety of every student and staff member. My only question is if they’ll make it a priority to maintain these changes forever