The voices of students are so important at this time.
Caroline from Denver, Colorado
My name is Caroline. I attend Swigert International School in Denver, CO. I am currently in fifth grade, but realized that 5th grade, and my elementary school days are over.
I wanted to share my reflections on school closures:
A few weeks ago, right before “extended Spring Break” was announced, 5th graders at Swigert were living their best 5th grade life. The spring was a series of fun events and field trips, including a day at Young Ameritowne, a trip to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and even an overnight trip in the mountains.
We got back from our overnight trip, to some very surprising news…
At first, honestly, we were all excited for an extended spring break. Two extra weeks off! 3 weeks of no school! Our family had a fun Spring Break trip planned, and my friends and I were looking forward to all the exciting things we could do while not in school.
I don’t think any of us understood that Coronavirus was such a serious concern. But every day, things seemed to get a little worse. All my favorite restaurants started shutting down, the zoo closed, then parks shut down and my dad had to start working from home. Then, we really couldn’t leave the house, and I can’t play with the kids in my neighborhood. Seemingly everything was changing, and not for the better. I long to see my friends, get to play on the playground, and even eat at a restaurant with my family.
Up until this point, fifth grade had been an ordinary year so far. Ok, there was the occasional drama, but that was considered normal in fifth grade. Nothing like this was ever expected. For years I had watched the fifth graders party like crazy at the end of the year complete with a snow cone and pizza truck. And for years I had participated in the fifth grade clapout, cheering on all the teary-eyed students. It was finally my turn. And then this happened.
And so, here we are. I miss school so much. We had so much to look forward to, in our remaining time in elementary school– needless to say, the initial excitement has worn off.
There have been some good things from all this time at home. I have seen more people riding bikes, playing outside, and going on hikes than I ever have. And if schools weren’t shut down, I probably wouldn’t have done all the awesome crafts and fun activities at home that I’ve been keeping busy doing. I also got to spend more time with my family, playing board games, baking, even building forts. I feel like I have better connections with my brothers now because of this. I have time on my hands I never had before. Instead of doing my homework in my room with the door shut, I am building elaborate forts with my brothers. Instead of hurriedly shoving cereal in my mouth so I don’t miss the bus, I get to socialize with my family at the table, and instead enjoy maybe a waffle with fresh fruit, or some warm oatmeal with a glass of milk.
It has dawned upon me how privileged I was throughout the year to get to learn in an inclusive, safe, cheerful environment. Now that the coronavirus has taken that away, no one knows what to do. One thing I can do is look on the bright side, more quality time with the family, no tight schedules, getting to sleep in.
I’m just hoping the world will return to normal…but in the meantime, I am going to make the most of this situation. But when it comes time for school in the Fall, I’ll be ready to go back to the learning environment I love. Normally people dread the first day of school, but I will be counting off the days until it’s here.
G. Dixon from Houston, TX
Our first student voice comes to us from G. Dixon, a middle school student in Texas. She wrote this on March 31st, 2020.
It is hard to believe that just one month ago, everything was still normal. Students were going to school, adults were going to work, and the world was nothing like this. Now, we can’t leave our house and we can’t see our friends or family.
Kids are thinking of this off-time as a good thing, but really it’s not. Parents, grandparents, etc., are all saying how COVID-19 is going to go down in history. This is not just a local thing, it is all over the world!
That’s the cool part to me, everyone is experiencing this tragedy at the same time, and we can all relate. Even though coronavirus has done some serious damage to our environments, there are still some good things out of it. Families are coming closer, and are able to spend more time together. Lots of kids, including myself, have said at one point that they want to be homeschooled. Well, now that is happening.
I have to wake up early and get to work. This may seem like a break, but teachers will never leave us bored.
Yes, all of the work is becoming more overwhelming than schoolwork, but we are still being educated.
A Few Bright Spots
The fun parts about this long break is that we can play family games, go on bike rides, and much more. Recently, I have been learning how to cook new dishes and new languages.
Families should take this opportunity to not look at everything that is going wrong, but everything that has been given to us.
Check out some of the reflections from teachers here: https://possip.com/teaching-during-covid-19/