Is it just me, or does it seem that as this school year progresses our students are becoming more and more lethargic? I’m hopeful the spring sports that seem to be planning to open will help with the listlessness. I see it even in my more dedicated students. They are tired. Too many hours of staring at a screen is making them less engaged in listening to a “live” adult. I opened my studio for live lessons in June.
Things have gone very smoothly, however as the months have dragged on, it seems that yet another disappointment that the elementary schools will actually open has slammed down my hopeful students. Some students who opted for a phase in plan have attended maybe 8 days of school between mid November and the Christmas holiday. Here in North Carolina the elementary and possibly middle schools were supposed to open January 18th. Alas, two days prior to opening the school board once again moved that date out to mid February due to the surge, lack of staff, lack of substitutes willing to serve.
In a quandry of what to do as my students walked in the door, I decided I cannot buy into the sleepy, less attentive malaise. I’m trying new things:
- Before playing a piece, I quickly give them maybe two (or three) things to remember that we covered the week before.
- I double check after working on the piece to tell me two important things to remember for this week. They smile and nod but often cannot tell me what I just said.
- It’s “online festival season” so we cannot slide back. I’m emphasizing deadlines.
- Since parents are currently discouraged from coming into the lesson, I am making more of an effort to send a quick note along with the assignment that I email each week
Most of all, I am trying to discipline myself to remain “upbeat” and not nag or complain. I’m one of the few live adults they see each week and if I’m complaining to them, it’s a bummer. I’m realizing they are going through something that none of us adults has ever experienced. Looking at it from their perspective, I can see how and why they are so downtrodden. A look at recent news articles is siting an inflated suicide rate among teen students as a reason there is such a push to get students back in the classroom. While I realize not all parts of the United States is experiencing school shutdowns, a large percentage are on at least a modified schedule. In Great Britain the shutdown and stay at home orders are extremely strict.
We have 4.5 months to go before school “closes” and another summer appears on the horizon. Let’s hope and pray our students can do a day camp, swim, maybe actually go on a trip. We all need to look for some normalcy.
Best of luck to us all as we navigate these Covid waters in the coming months.