Students lack motivation with online classes

By Kennedy Sabharwal

22 May 2020
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Even top students are having trouble paying attention to their online classes.

Take it from Sayre School junior, Parker Stewart, who is planning to attend Stanford for college. Stewart said it has been extremely hard for him to stay motivated.

“It’s much harder to kind of get yourself motivated because you’re not forced to,” Stewart said. “When I am able to check my phone all day, I get really used to not having to pay attention.”

The pandemic has caused many changes to daily routines. For some students, one of the biggest changes it has brought is the cancellation of school.

Children are no longer with their peers and teachers, and parents are having to step up and assume the role of both a parent and a teacher. This week during WRFL’s "Campus Voices," we had guests join us to discuss the way that their lives, and their students’ lives have been changed due to COVID-19.

Some students have been skipping out on their classwork. An early April poll by Common Sense Media found that 47% of public school students in the survey haven’t attended a single virtual class during the pandemic. Crawford Middle School Teacher, Margaret Stevens said she has seen this first-hand.

“I teach middle school, so if there is a way out, they know where it is!” Stevens said. “And when you see on the news every day that school is officially closed, it is like ‘wo-hoo’.”

Though students are finding it hard to focus and stay attentive towards class, Claire Lawrence, a graduate student at Vanderbilt University, said that it is important that teachers take a step back and focus on the child more than the schoolwork.

“One way that I have found to be really successful is just… really prioritizing, you know, it's not all about school.” Lawrence said. “School is a lot right now. It’s confusing, and it’s hard, and it’s frustrating, but how are you doing? I’m still going to be someone who will give you support and guidance.”

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, as of May 10, there are more than a billion students having to participate in online learning from home. Though the pandemic has caused work schedules to change, the virus has brought uncertainty to children as well.

Lawrence said school is hard enough right now, and she and her classmates are doing their best to be a support system for their students amid the pandemic. The principal of Crawford Middle School, Mike Jones, said he is trying to lead by example. Jones mentioned a recent exchange he had with one of his school’s students.

“I received an email, and I will actually pull it up because I don’t want to misquote the kid. He said, ‘I’m really worried about my grades and it’s driving me crazy because I have been trying my best and I feel like I won’t be going to high school. My response was ‘You’re going to be fine. Just keep working. You are going to go to high school. I got ya.’”

Though COVID-19 has brought much uncertainty, Governor Beshear has begun releasing guidelines for summer camps and childcare services to implement once reopening in June. This is a sign that children may be going back to schools with these guidelines being implemented in the fall.

"Campus Voices" airs on Wednesdays at 4pm on WRFL this summer, to discuss the issues affecting UK's campus and the Lexington area.

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