Virtual schooling has influenced student view on workload  

As we’re entering the fourth marking period, students at Montclair High School have been struggling with the stress of their workload and are experiencing “burnout.” According to ADA.com, this feeling is described as “a condition experienced by workers and other professionals in which they develop depression-like symptoms as a result of aspects of their role.” 

A few students from each grade described how their workload was affecting their mentality and motivation. After learning remotely for a year and a half, many students haven’t been able to pick up the study habits that they acquired throughout their pre -covid school years. 

“My workload has been increasing much more recently, and it causes more stress than it should. The amount of homework being given combined with almost zero class time to finish leaves students like me up until almost 11 at night finishing homework due the next day” stated a junior.

The decision between choosing between fun and work lies in the executive functioning skill you develop from when you’re born through your mid 20’s. According to Harvard.edu, “Executive function and self-regulation skills depend on three types of brain function: working memory, mental flexibility, and self-control… these skills are crucial for learning and development. They also enable positive behavior and allow us to make healthy choices for ourselves and our families.” 

This causes students to struggle between the boundary of school time and fun time. A lot of students feel like since they missed out on almost two years of their high school experience, they want to retain the social aspects of school. 

“Not only does this cause anxiety and stress, but it also leaves us no room to pursue a social life with our friends,” said a freshman at Montclair highschool. 

After interviewing four teachers, we learned their perspective behind all this work and if they think it’s affecting their students’ mental health. 

“We were told to cut down the amount of work students got during COVID. I made sure that we eased into our workload this year because no one was sure what academic level they were at” Ms. Chelius explained alongside Ms. Osmani after expressing her feelings about post remote learning. 

While some teachers like Ms. Chelius and Ms. Osmati eased into their workloads this year, Ms. Panchekha and Ms. Kalra disagree. These two honors Chemistry teachers assign work in the best interest of their students and want to give them the best education possible, even if that’s assigning a lot of work. 

“It’s easy to like an A or B student and it’s easy for that student to succeed, but it brings me the most joy when a C student from the past comes up to me and says they’re a pre-med student…”

According to both sets of teachers, students put so much pressure on themselves because they think school is only about the grades. We also got an insight into the teachers’ mental health which is often overlooked. As much as school affects students’ mental health, teachers have also been struggling with their mental health, especially while teaching remotely.

“I don’t even want to put myself in that mindset again because I was working all of the time, thinking all of the time, you know, starting class literally an hour before the first class starts because I had to check if the Zoom works and if the assignment was posted… it was a lot!” Panchekha explained, stressed even speaking about the past.

All of the teachers interviewed touched on pressure, which both students and teachers feel. They described the amount of pressure they had on themselves to be an excellent teacher in-person and online. Surprisingly, both sets of teachers discussed how they used to love teaching pre-covid, but as soon as covid hit, teaching online suddenly became a burden.

Something we all can take away from the year that slipped through our fingers is that everyone, including teachers, has their own hardships.