As the implications of COVID-19 continue to become increasingly invasive in the lives of the public, for many, school is easily viewed as more of a trivial nuisance than a timeworthy endeavor. Exams, essays, and assignments can exacerbate already negative mindsets induced by social isolation and widespread pessimism; as a result, their perpetrators, our teachers and administration, are continually blamed and criticized for these unwelcome commitments. However, many students fail to empathize with these individuals and realize the truth of the matter – that our school officials deserve respect now more than ever.
This realization primarily requires an acknowledgement of our community’s educational gift; while thousands of students nationwide vacated their school premises several long weeks ago, we remain some of the few that have maintained consistent school instruction and structure, albeit from behind a screen. And though our situation is less than ideal, it is surely one deserving of gratitude.
While we, the students, determined how best to tackle the adjustment to a fully virtual education, our teachers surmounted the challenge of converting to a fully virtual means of instruction and interaction; without this effort, we would return to classes in the fall at a disadvantage and with the challenge of making up for weeks of content on our shoulders. Additionally, the majority of teachers have reformed current grading policies in order to treat us in an increasingly lenient and understanding manner, fully compensating for the physical and emotional burden all community members have encountered. And yet, while teachers sacrifice their own free moments to enhance our virtual experience and interaction with one another, they are greeted by muted screens and the explicit hijacking of their classes by students simply wishing for attention and reaction. It is these same teachers who have made the commitment to accept, grade, and value our late assignments and contributions simply out of understanding and empathy, and it is time that we treat them with the same sentiment.
Further unrest fomented following the announcement of the district’s reformed semester grading policy. Students and parents alike were quick to express anger and outrage at the ostensible inequity and adversity this decision catalyzed, critiquing not just the policy itself, but the morals of the administration behind its approval. While a pursuit towards utilitarianism will innately leave some individuals unsatisfied, it is unjust to blame such a technique’s flaws on the personal character traits of its authors.
There is no perfect solution to our situation of nationwide distress. There is no one solution to the question of which class assignments, grading policies, or attendance methods will ultimately suit our community and its diverse population. However, our school’s teachers and leadership team deserve to be recognized for their strive to discover these answers, despite the inevitable imperfections encountered along the way.