From bedrooms and computer screens, to classrooms and worksheets, Martin has made a comeback from its ghost town-like feel. Students fill the hallways, conversing with friends they have and haven’t seen since the Pandemic.
As students are adapting to the many differences in comparison to their school experience last year, one major difference has been students’ relationships with teachers and, or staff.
The appreciation of in-person interaction with staff has been overwhelming. The ability to converse beyond that of a Zoom screen has been expressed as game changing.
“Being back at school has given me more of an opportunity to connect with the teachers,” senior Ashley Bronfield said. “Since I get to see them in-person, I can actually ask a question face to face. Something about it makes it easier to connect with a teacher.”
Not only does this alleviate the desire to simply talk to staff in person, students also express that it affects the way in which they learn and retain information.
“I definitely think it’s important to have a relationship with your teachers,” senior Ryan Lovett said. “I think the better the relationship you have with a teacher the easier it is to learn the subject.”
While students express the revelation of how meaningful their relationships are with staff, there’s a shared space in which both parties are wanting to create and better care for these connections.
“I feel so sad that I don’t even know what most of my alpha even looks like,” counselor Karen Peters said. “I feel like most of them are like my Facebook friends. I know their name, what they are involved in, but I would not recognize them if they were right in front of me. I have never wanted my students to be a number or just a name to me.”
The relief of normalcy is heavily expressed by students and staff. It beams through their smiles and can be recognized in their attitudes. The acknowledgement of the unproductive and overall negative experiences from last year are an essential part in being grateful for the changes this season brings.
“I absolutely had some negative experiences with my teachers online last year,” Lovett said. “Some of those experiences made me even hate learning in general,”
The physical proximity, like any relationship, has been acknowledged as vital for student and staff connections to thrive. Students express that they’ve noticed a shift in their teachers’ enthusiasm and overall attitude.
“I definitely see a difference in my teacher’s attitude towards teaching,” Bronfield said. “They seem more connected with us, since now they get to see all of us and not just a black screen with our names on it.”
The motivation and excitement to be engaged and involved in all aspects of Martin life has returned to the environment. Not only are students pointing out a shift in staff’s attitude, but they are also expressing that they feel more encouraged. While virtual learning may have been a strain on the relationship, that’s simply all it was – a strain. The relationship stands strong and continuous to create a positive space in which both teachers and students are motivated and excited to grow.
“Returning to in person I definitely think that my teachers are putting in more effort,” Lovett said. “It seems like they’re almost more motivated and excited to teach. Some of my teachers are doing interactive activities that have surprisingly encouraged me to show up to class with a positive attitude.”