Ask any middle schooler their feelings about school on a normal day in the middle of the school year, you might hear something like, “I don’t wanna go to school,” or “I’m tired of school; I wanna stay home.” Fast forward to the end of March 2020 in the midst of a global pandemic, and you are likely to hear some very different responses.

Sitting at home on my computer doing my assignments is definitely very different from my normal day at school. At school I get to interact with my classmates, friends and teachers, but at home I don’t get to have those interactions, which in my opinion is crucial to the learning process. On a typical school day at home I have math every Monday and Wednesday and ELA/reading every Tuesday and Thursday. We have blue days on Mondays and Tuesdays, which for me is Science and Band, and gray days on Wednesday and Thursday, which for me is Social Studies and Gym/Wellness. Friday we simply do an online reading and math program called iReady. This is a somewhat different schedule than normal and doesn’t take nearly as long as an entire school day. It’s also difficult because we are missing out on hands-on activities in Band, Gym and Science. This situation is one I am not too happy with, though I’m going to have to learn to adjust along with the rest of the district.

Though there are many difficulties and negatives about eLearning, I do enjoy sleeping in a little later, along with the assignments taking less time. Another thing I enjoy is being able to wear whatever I want. These things do make me feel a little better about the situation we are in, though I miss school and I’m sure many of my classmates do as well. In fact, today my Language Arts teacher conducted a Google Meet where we all could see and talk to each other online. For today’s session, we simply chatted, shared feelings, and asked questions about the Coronavirus and how it’s affecting our lives. It was apparent in my classmates’ facial expressions and discussion that they missed everyone and being in the classroom. I know many students are wishing that they were back already.

The main thing I miss about school are my friends and classmates. During a normal school day, I always have someone to talk to or someone who is next to me in class, but at home I don’t have that. These couple weeks being at home, I have realized more than ever how important relationships, conversation, and group work are to my learning. Another thing I miss about school are the projects and activities. Teachers are not assigning some of the in-depth, group projects and activities that we would be doing at school because we do not have access to the necessary materials. I really feel like many of us took regular school for granted.

One thing that gives me hope during this time is knowing that we are all safe and in our homes. I hope that we find a cure for this virus and we can get back to school and continue our normal learning experience.

Ella Frever is a seventh grader at Barker Middle School. In the Middle is a monthly column by middle schoolers at Michigan City Area Schools.

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