Student Voices: How Does WCHS Feel About Their Education During a Pandemic?

Take a look at the student body of Woodford County High School and what they have to say about their education during a pandemic.


Lily Savage

Infographics of the data collected in the “Your Education During a Pandemic” survey

We all know that High School is already difficult enough, but throwing a global pandemic into the mix has turned students’ lives, plans, and goals upside down. With the instability of schedules, the lack of extracurriculars, the non-existent social lives, and the seemingly endless workload, it’s almost impossible to pretend that things are normal. This article dives into the first-person perspective of how it feels to be a student during such unprecedented events, and what students wish they could say.

Preferred Learning Styles

A survey was sent out to the student body of Woodford County High School that provided them with a poll asking which format of learning fit best for them, and the results were largely in favor of a learning style that incorporated some form of in-person education. It comes as no surprise that students work better in a learning environment, but the effects and consequences of working from home for the majority of 2020 were largely underestimated.

The data from the survey showed that the majority of the student body is less stressed about school work when they can be in an in-person environment, and while the virtual academy, a program that was introduced for the 2020-2021 school year, works for some, many find it significantly harder to focus when tasked with online school. Tara Rapoport (11), a virtual academy student, weighs in on how she feels about being all-online. “Having a more flexible schedule with online school works really well for me. I like being able to work independently and at my own pace. However, the style of instruction makes it really hard for me to focus and learn and the Edgenuity lessons are all extremely boring and monotonous.” Rapoport commends the online academy for allowing a flexible schedule but affirms the notion that it becomes very difficult to focus in an online environment.

While there are lots of things to consider, the basic question of “what is working for you” is often the most vital. We allowed students to give their opinion on what is working for them, and what is not. Out of the 70 responses we received in the survey, the most common answers were related to having some form of in-person learning schedule. Many students really enjoyed the hybrid schedule for the “break day” it gave them, but also for the fact that they were receiving at least some form of in-person instruction.

Overall, some form of in-person instruction is vital for most students to feel like they are excelling in their classes, meeting their potential, and learning to the best of their ability.

Lack of Motivation

High School learning instability during a pandemic hasn’t only caused a drop in focus or interest in students. The motivation that many students of Woodford County High School had when it came to doing their schoolwork and doing it well has drastically decreased due to learning in a pandemic. According to the survey, only 19.2% of students said they did not notice a significant drop in their motivation. The other 80.7% of students said that they feel a significant lack of motivation either some of the time or all the time.

This significant drop in the drive that students have to excel in the classroom or even to participate at all and how it links to the pandemic should be seriously considered, especially what the root cause of it is. Studies have shown that there are many different reasons for the poor performance of students in the 2020-2021 school year, but the consistently visible pattern is that when students are obligated to attend public school with the absence of recreational activities such as sports, dances, pep rallies, and other school events, as well as social interaction as a whole, there is significantly less of a drive for these students to want to stay present in the learning environment. We asked the students of WCHS what they missed the most about their education before COVID-19, and the results showed that the vast majority of students miss having the “true high school experience”. “I really miss the feeling of being together. There was a simple joy in being able to go to pep rallies or sports games,” said Eva Kate Probus (10). 

I really miss the feeling of being together. There was a simple joy in being able to go to pep rallies or sports games.”

— Eva Kate Probus (10)

While it is impossible to fully go back to how things were before COVID-19 in regards to recreation and socialization, it is extremely important to many students that they feel like they have something to break up the monotony of their studies while remaining safe and healthy.

“What do you wish you could say to your teachers?”

Alongside the polls that were included in the survey, we also asked students to provide their opinion on what they wish they could say to their teachers, and what they wish their teachers understood. Some responses stuck out of the bunch, wishing they could let their teachers know it is growing increasingly more difficult to juggle the upkeep of grades alongside a global pandemic. However, the responses were overwhelmingly positive, wishing teachers safety and wellness in a tough time such as this. “They are human. They will make mistakes. They won’t get it right the first time around. They are deserving of all the things they offer to us, if not more. Therefore, I can’t even begin to express how much they mean to me! I’m so blessed to go to school with a community of staff who offer nothing but their best,” said Reese Nickels (10). Nickels also commends the staff of Woodford County High School on their resilience, hard work, and the ability to understand others throughout this difficult time. While it is easy to harbor resentment for your mentors and educators when nothing seems to be going right and school is more difficult than it’s ever been, it is important to remember to be kind and appreciative of all the hard work teachers do for us as students.

“What would you change about the way school Is structured right now?”

The last question we asked the student body of WCHS was what they would change about the structure of their education right now. The majority of students commented on how they wish a few adjustments could be made to the structure of the school itself. These adjustments include the removal of the hallway arrows, the adjustment of the cubicles on the cafeteria tables, the allowance for students to go off-campus for lunch, and many more. However, some students decided to tackle more pressing issues regarding their education, one of which being the amount of school work given.

Many students believe that during a time such as this, the schoolwork load that teachers give should be relaxed. Of course, there are always complaints about the workload, pandemic or not, but when the amount of students who have spoken up about this is taken into consideration, it becomes a more pressing matter. “We’re living through a mass traumatic event and it’s illogical to expect people to be able to continue to be productive and be able to do school during such a time,” said Tara Rapoport (10). Rapoport follows this by saying that it would be much more beneficial for students during this time to restructure the way things are being done to take into account the extreme stress that students are under.

We’re living through a mass traumatic event and it’s illogical to expect people to be able to continue to be productive and be able to do school during such a time.”

— Tara Rapoport (11)

All things considered, the results of the survey have shown that students have quite strong feelings about the way their education is being handled. From which learning styles work best for students, to what students would change about their educational experience to make learning much more enjoyable, the information provided proves that it is extremely vital to listen to the voice of the student in regards to education during a global pandemic.