Educational Challenges Faced in 2020-2021 School Year

By Danielle Best ’21 and Aimee Lee ’24

Source: The New York Times

“When we were completely virtual I think the biggest issue was not knowing what’s going on the other side of the screen”, said Montgomery High School English teacher Ms. Nowak. Many issues arose during the 2020-2021 school year due to online education, including academic integrity. 

Ms. Nowak stated, “We’re slowing things down curriculum wise, and we’re changing the way we do things…because you can’t give a multiple choice critical reading and know for sure that nobody’s cheating.”

Virtual learning was essential when the pandemic forced schools to close, and it was far from perfect. Many students struggled to connect and build trust with their teachers. 

Montgomery High School freshman Andriana Chugonov noted, “Last year, I knew my teachers personally…. Now, if you take those surveys once in a while that asks if you’re comfortable to ask your teacher for help, I don’t even know because I haven’t been able to converse with them personally, face to face.” 

As some students chose to learn in-school, education faced new challenges. Staff and students worried about safety, and some teachers had difficulty dividing their attention between students in the classroom and at home.

Ms. Nowak highlighted her experience stating, “You have the kids that are in front of you, you have the kids at home. I’ll be having this conversation, it’s hard to get it into an entire class setting.”

Both teachers and students have struggled with education during the 2020-2021 school year. Many already wonder what other challenges they will face once they return to a traditional classroom setting. 

“That change is going to be harder,” Andriana stated, “I’m not saying I haven’t been learning a lot, but our days are being cut short….We’re going to have to work a lot harder to get material better.”

Whether learning in a virtual, hybrid, or “normal” classroom setting, the pandemic has revealed the perseverance of education through unfortunate situations. 

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