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OVERCOMING OBSTACLES...THE EAGLE WAY
by Aditi R.

Isolation...stress...restriction...

These were the words a group of middle school students used to describe what they’re feeling during the pandemic. And Singapore American School is responding with change to better work with these new challenges. 

Due to the government guidelines, second to seventh grade students were forced to go into distance learning mode for approximately three weeks. Students from seventh grade through twelfth grade went to school with tougher restrictions—students have to remain in groups of two, after-school activities canceled, choir and band classes completely reimagined, and more. 

Seventh grade students and siblings Annika A. and Koel A., revealed that Covid-19 has really impacted them as students and changed their learning experiences. “...it's challenging because we are restricted to many things when we're outside doing strenuous activities, but we found a solution—we started running at home,” Annika explains. She feels that as an athlete, it is complicated having to practice when you have that procrastination mindset. Nevertheless, she realizes how SAS’s teachers and administrators are adapting so well despite the multiple changes to restrictions.

Koel A. feels that academically, teachers and administrators are so supportive, even when students are all struggling. She states, “...because distance learning has been mandatory, SAS has been doing the best they can to make sure it doesn't impact students in an unhealthy way.” She explains, “Middle school still gives well-being check-ins during advisory, and teachers are making sure we aren't too stressed about what is going on around us.” The sisters persist in getting through the tough times and insist that it is satisfying when they see how others work as hard as they can to help you get through distance learning. 

Saira B. is an eighth grader who went to school when the rules were tightened. She thinks that the regulations aren’t difficult for her and other students. While it does have a significant impact on many of her friends’ social and emotional well-being, SAS has been able to try and get students to adapt to these new circumstances. She mentions, “SAS is supportive of students' mental well-being because they give us free time to socialize and discuss possible solutions when they notice students are having trouble coping with the changes.”  She feels that many of our faculty members care, support, and provide students with the opportunity to talk to someone about how they’re feeling. This is effective when trying to help students increase their academic growth and success as well. 

Middle school counselor Mr. Ben Robertaccio shares that Covid-19 has presented challenges in his role to support and teach students. He shares, “You see, when students communicate, we tend to use facial expressions and body language. But with distance learning and masks, we aren’t able to see these visual and auditory cues.” Despite the challenges, he has found other ways to support our students—a testament to how our educators are adaptable and resilient. On a positive note, he believes the sleep schedule of our students has improved, especially for adolescents. 

Middle school band director/teacher Mrs. Tracy Craig feels students do learn more effectively in person and have more difficulty learning from home. They have been able to overcome and in a way, embrace these challenges. The pandemic has very much changed the way Mrs. Craig teaches students but she has learned to appreciate how things could be worse, and with the resources and support from SAS, everything is much easier. She also expresses that since the rules keep changing, it is hard to plan forward with “the lense of how to develop good musicianship, for example, creating a sense of community, concert and audience etiquette, building/practicing skills in reading music notation, practicing fundamental skills of playing in an ensemble, and learning about composers, musicians, and music from around the world. We can do this with or without instruments, though it is a lot more fun with the instruments!” She says that the SAS administration has been understanding and supportive knowing that all educators are doing the best they can given the restrictions at this time. “They check in often and are always willing to help with resources and/or brainstorm how to solve problems around the restrictions we are faced with in our classes,” she adds. 

It's not about actually beating Covid-19. Being able to have an empathetic understanding of how teachers and students may be affected is what brings us together and helps us grow to conquer and succeed—just like SAS has been able to for the past 18 months. We can see that being able to conquer Covid-19 is about being able to adapt to it and staying strong as a community! We got this, SAS!

 

 

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