Teachers need to show mercy during pandemic

Rosellen Rodriguez, Editor in chief

Covid-19 was something no one was prepared for; not the school board, not the teachers and especially not the students. It’s almost comical now to think back to seniors jokingly commenting that Wildcat Challenge could be our last time all together at school. But we all waved it off. It couldn’t get that bad, could it? Well, here we are. Grad Bash, Prom, Senior Breakfast, conventions, trips — all cancelled.

Monday through Friday, one Google Meets to the next, a computer screen being our most powerful educational tool yet. They call it “distance learning,” a term none of us probably ever hoped to be familiarized with. Yet, here we are. Our eyes red and burning from the blue light emanating from the screens, our backs stiff from leaning over our laptops, our sleep schedules damaged beyond repair. Could it get any worse, especially for seniors, knowing we’ll never return back to school until fall? Yes, yes it could because we all have lives beyond academics, which many teachers seem to forget.

The global outbreak and the stressors it introduces to families is just the icing on top. Some students struggle with mental health issues, exacerbated by isolation in their homes for the past month. Others have had financial issues prior to the pandemic and worsened by the lockdown. There are those fortunate  — or unfortunate depending on the way you see it — enough to still have jobs, but are worried about their constant exposure to other people and perhaps the virus itself.

Now, teachers: Is it really necessary to strictly refuse late work? Is it really necessary to have assignments due every day of the school week? Stop pretending you can conduct online schooling the same way as it was in a classroom; you can’t, not with a transition so abrupt. Still have some doubts? An Instagram poll conducted on the “Roar” website found that more than half of the students who responded said their teachers are assigning too much work. The lack of routine and an educational environment is leaving students struggling to stay afloat. We no longer have the structured schedule of 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to keep us in line. We no longer have an environment strictly for education to keep us concentrated. We no longer have the social interactions with teachers and students alike to keep us sane. Students are overwhelmed, scared, stressed. Show some leniency and patience, it is all we ask. Just remember, there is a pandemic out there, and none of us know how it will end.