What do you miss?
Students, teachers reflect on time outside the classroom
Turns out, getting up early, hurriedly wrapping up homework and rushing to class isn’t such a bad thing.
With kids throughout New Hampshire learning remotely for nearly three weeks – shut off from friends, activities and the classroom experience – students and teachers have been given a chance to reflect on what they value most about life before the stay-at-home order.
Michael Castano, an English teacher at Timberlane Regional High School, in Plaistow, says that what he hears from students is that they miss the camaraderie.
“My mentality about school is that it’s about 10% content and 90% experience,” Castano says. “They miss the experience of the routines. Every day I do greetings and meditation with my kiddos. So many of them email that they miss starting class with those things.”
Having a schedule and translating instruction outside the traditional classroom setting has made remote learning slightly more challenging for Parker Kearley, 12, a middle schooler at the Sanborn Middle School, in Kingston.
“I miss riding my bike to school,” he says. “And I think teachers’ instructions are more clear in the classroom than online.”
Matthew Mazur, a ninth grader at Timberlane, says he has been adapting to the ‘new normal’ well, but there is one thing in particular he was looking forward to.
“I miss my first baseball season as a freshman,” he says. “Otherwise I’m vibin’.”
Trinity High School, in Manchester, was an early adopter to remote learning, starting the process before most schools, and offering lectures and class time delivered via video. And while it has been well-received by students and parents alike, there are elements of class time that can’t be replicated.
“I miss the under-the-breath jokes that people in my class would make,” says senior Maddie Kane. “I have some really funny classmates, and you can’t do that over video.”
Her sister Emma, a junior, misses being around other students.
“Remote learning has been better than I thought it would be, but I miss sitting in the class with my friends and asking questions,” she says. “My school is doing a really good job with it, but it’s still different than actually being in class.
“I also miss driving. I haven’t driven anywhere in three weeks.”
Maddie Kane has the additional concerns about graduation, and how the stay-at-home order could affect impending senior activities – things that she, and seniors everywhere, could potentially miss.
“I think it’s going to be different than any other year, but that’s not necessarily all bad,” she says. “I’ll always remember it. If we don’t have (graduation) during the school year, we’ll get together and do something at some point. It’ll be fun.”
It’s an approach adopted after she had a chance to look back at how different life was just a month ago.
Castano, who is also the advisor of Timberlane’s improv troupe, The Milkmen, and helped stage the recently-truncated run of the school’s play, “Love Sick,” says he is reminded of a quote from “Our Town” – “Choose the least important day in your life. It will be important enough.”
“I feel even the most average, mundane school day is really such a wonderful experience,” he says. “These days have brought this to life.”