Back to School Through the Eyes of the New Paltz Staff

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By Parker Reed, Staff Writer

Mr. Cook

Have you seen students lack the confidence to interact with one another?

“I have not been able to discern if the issue is a lack of confidence, or just a comfort level with not socializing after being quarantined and adding the masks and availability of phones to the mix, but I have noticed that students socialize less in the classroom since Covid hit.”

Are masks affecting the way students learn?

“Are masks affecting the way students learn?  I think yes, I am definitely seeing that the normal student teacher bonding that can occur is less frequent and takes longer to set in.  Also, communicating that the classroom is a safe place and that what my students have to say is important and interesting to me as their teacher, is harder to do with a mask on.  Additionally, I can see that students are less likely to interact with students that they don’t already know, and I am ascribing some of that to not being able to read the body language of a person who is masked, and already unfamiliar.”

In what ways has COVID been a negative effect on students and how has it been positive?

“Negative: isolation, more social media, general anxiety about the future and the capability of the generation that is in charge, conspiracy theories abound, kids have been traumatized, and there does not seem to be an end in sight.

Positive:  remote has facilitated a less wasteful approach to paper usage.  Also, it has forced some greater efficiency with meetings that can be held on video conferencing platforms.  Unfortunately though, teaching is not ideal for the videoconferencing media.”