Teachers Break Down The Biggest Differences In Students Before And After The Pandemic

Students in a classroom
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

One never usually expects every kid to be excited to go to school.

But when children all over the world were forced to finish their school years from home when the pandemic hit in 2020, they all might have realized that they might have enjoyed the ins and outs of school a bit more than they thought.

So, as schools started to gradually re-open, children practically couldn't wait to get back into a classroom.

For the most part, that is.

While many proud parents and teachers posted many happy pictures of children joyously returning to their classrooms, in no time at all, students quickly realized that going to school was going to be a completely different experience than before the pandemic.

Even today, when most, if not all, schools have dropped the protocols they implemented when re-opening after the pandemic, teachers have noticed changes big and small in the behavior of their students.


Redditor UmiChan90 was curious to learn more about these changes, leading them to ask:
"Teachers of Reddit, what are the biggest differences you've seen in your students pre and post pandemic?

The Effects Of A Change In Envrionment

"High school teacher here."

"These kids hit two major disruptions: Going remote, and coming back."

"Most kids learned almost no content when teaching was remote."

"There are always those few who will learn no matter what, but honestly, having the ability to have a video game or fun website on in a different tab with no one able to tell was too big a temptation."

"Not to mention the kids who were forced into childcare roles of younger relatives during school hours, or those in families that had more people than tech and had to prioritize who could work when."

"Some amazing kids rose to the occasion, other kids just acted like regular kids."

"They are slowly recovering now."

"But a significant minority did better when school was remote."

"One girl had a hard time focusing, so she brought her phone into the kitchen and cooked all period while also answering all the questions and participating in all the activities."

"And one boy, for whom socialization was the hardest thing, burned through online classes once he wasn't held back by having to deal with people."

"These kids had a much harder time on their return (and unfortunately in the boy's case, his success during remote school meant some of his services were taken away only for him to crash and burn once he was brought back)."- HobbitInHufflepuff

Deadlines Lost Their Meaning

"A lot of students got used to not handing in work on time or at all."

"During the pandemic kids were getting passes because of tech problems and so on."

"We were told just mark it down as incomplete and move on."

"No reason was needed to be given."

"Now I'm finding that when I give a project and tell them to work on it at home, I have, at best, half my kids who will and the others are shocked that I was being serious."

"It will be interesting to see if they get back into the swing of things as time moves on."- thejonfrog

Change In Attention Span

"As a high school teacher in Australia (which is notorious for how we screwed up our latest Internet upgrade), I've noticed students might have a shorter attention span overall, but boy, do they switch on and pay attention for the first 10 minutes."

"It's fricking eerie."

"Welcome, but eerie."- joalheagney

"Post pandemic students have even shorter attention spans."

"Distractions are a major problem."

"Getting back into the structure and focus of in-person learning has been more difficult than expected."- StanYelnats3·

Lack of Enthusiasm

"To put things into perspective, I am a chemistry teacher."

"There are big gaps in knowledge, especially mathematical."

"Asking basic algebraic questions leaves a lot of blank faces when in previous years it was a non-issue for most students."

"The attention span has dropped to almost nothing."

"In previous years it was understood that cellphones shouldn't be out and if you were on a Chromebook you should be doing work."

"That's a huge issue at the moment."

"Almost everyone seems burned out."

'While there are still a few exceptions, there seems to be an overall desire to not be in class that I have not seen."

"Before, it was always an issue in the beginning of the year but would subside as we got to interesting stuff."

"I have not felt motivated to do the interesting stuff this year (I still am) because they show just as much enthusiasm as when I just give a worksheet."- youritalianjob

Delays Of All Sorts

"Elementary academic intervention specialist (mostly upper elementary) here."

"Most notable differences:"

"Selayed handwriting skills."

"Better at using technology."

"Social-emotional maturity delays."

"More difficulty with delayed gratification."

"Higher interest in time for peer interaction."

"Less proficiency in self regulation."

"Higher anxiety."- tiny_butt_toucher

Volume Control Issues

"Besides the obvious ones, something that I didn’t expect was that they are so loud."

"They’re completely unaware of how much noise they make."

"Pre-pandemic, even young kids were used to being in public places where they had to be quiet."

"School, church, libraries, movies, etc."

"As soon as we came back in person, it became extremely evident that these kids had spent the past two years in the comforts of their own homes and on classes with mute buttons."

"Even if they’re just sitting there doing their work, they’ll tap their hands, feet, pencils, they’ll hum to themselves, they’ll make any and all noises far beyond what I had ever seen before."

"And it’s really hard to get them to stop, because they don’t even realize they’re doing it."

"I teach second grade."- nctm96

Disinterest in Extracurriculars

"Involvement in extracurriculars is at an all time low."

"Fine Arts programs are failing due to student numbers, lack of teachers and funding."

"Programs are being cut at all levels."

"Not enough students are joining and there are not enough teachers for the students who do."

"Great times."- Akairichii

It's Not Just The Children Who Have Changed

"Inner city teacher here."

"As others have said, the attention span is lower."

"Many kids don't watch tv, they just play on their phone."

"Most may watch a show while being on their phone."

"It's all about next content."

"Something else is the spoon feeding they want."

"If a quick google search doesn't give an immediate answer, it's hopeless."

"They won't click a link to read three paragraphs to find an answer, they want google to give them the paragraph out of context, with the bolded part."

"On top of this is parents."

"Kids in many new aspects have a relationship with their parents that is friend based and not parent-child."

"Kids run wild and do what they please with little repercussions."

"Parents expect you, the teacher, to drive their kids even though we see the kid for an hour a day."

"It's all just passing the buck."- Parki2

Teachers often notice changes in certain children after they return from two months of summer vacation.

So changes were expected when children returned to school after the world shut down as a result of the pandemic.

Making one realize all the more how important it is to recognize how teachers are among the most "essential" workers of them all.


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