Stripped of motivation

Hannah Rakolta, Writer

Before we went to online learning last year, I enjoyed coming to school and being a good student. However, ever since the pandemic started, it has been an immense struggle to find the motivation to go to school. 

The world is just now starting to feel normal again, but the seemingly permanent impacts the pandemic left on students should not be swept under the rug. 

This year, my workload from school is so intense that it feels almost impossible to handle. In reality, teachers are more or less teaching the same material and workload as in years past. So why are students feeling so overwhelmed now compared to past years?

Two years ago, we went from the traditional way of sitting in rigid classrooms for seven hours per day to the sudden academic freedom that came with online school. Whether or not everyone enjoyed online school, it undoubtedly altered students’ stress levels and overall mindsets. Going back to the old teaching practices this year accounts for why students do not know how to handle the stress of school anymore.

A study done by the American Family Survey showed that nearly 20 percent of parents revealed their children’s grades worsened after the pandemic, and one-third reported declines in learning. Motivation in students to finish assignments and spend quality time on schoolwork is quickly declining. In my personal experience, I see kids out enjoying their lives, with school now coming second to social life. 

More and more, I notice students experiencing a lack of motivation while doing school work. Instead of learning or enjoying the material given to them, they will mindlessly finish and copy work, so they can go out and have fun.  

We, as a generation, need to discuss what is effective for education in today’s environment. The world is finally open to adapting to help students’ well-being, with many standard practices like the ACT going online for future years. If worldwide standardized testing can adapt, teachers and school boards should also be open to change for the sake of their students. 

I believe force-feeding information to students is one of the most ineffective teaching methods. Instead, educators should create an environment where students enjoy and benefit from their learning. Having the ability to maintain some freedom in their academic lives helps students appreciate the privilege of school, and in doing so, it would improve the school experience for many.