Post-Covid education: depressed students, exhausted teachers

Students have to make up for a lot of lost school time and thus learn a lot of material, but besides this, they have to get used to being back at school. School directors have drawn their conclusions after the first week and reported them to the transindex.ro news portal.

The epidemic situation shattered students and staff, both emotionally and physically, and now it’s time to face the problems. For example, students have been emotionally drained by the lack of socialization and teachers are having difficulties coping with the restrictions and the changes from one day to another. The lifting of restrictions affected 2,799 localities, including the city of Kolozsvár/Cluj-Napoca, which converted to the “green system.”

In the Reformed School, teachers are extremely happy that the students have returned and education can continue in the normal way. Director Árpád Székely says that students are happy to be together and are almost inseparable. “Colleagues have begun with exams and making up for missed learning material. I have asked them to go easy on the students until they get back to the normal pace of offline education.” He added that he is extremely angry about the measures taken by the government from one day to another: “This year has worn people out emotionally.”

The director added that the school will respect all safety measures. Regarding the learning material, he is not very concerned because they managed to provide students with the necessary devices needed for online teaching: tablets and laptops.

Now the bigger problem is the emotional toll taken on the students, says the director of the Apáczai Csere János Theoretical High School. They have prepared a long time ago for the return of students, so this was not a problem for them. In his opinion, several kids are on the verge of depression, while others already have symptoms of depression. This is the situation that both teachers and parents must face. There was a case when a student had to be taken directly to the psychiatrist because his case was really serious. In the director’s opinion, there will be more cases in the upcoming weeks, so teamwork is needed to avoid further problems.

Teaching during the epidemic was made much easier with online devices  although the teachers at János Zsigmond Unitarian College are happy that the students have returned because there are several skills that can only be developed through in-person education. The school has had difficulties creating a proper timetable for students so that the breaks would not lead to too many kids mingling at once, but the safety measures regarding minimal physical contact are almost impossible to comply with, she added.

There are students with emotional problems also at Unitarian College. The school psychologist and the ministers are doing their best to meet with all students who need help.

The well-being of the students is more important than the learning material, says Ágnes Timár, director of Báthory István Theoretical High School. They put a lot of emphasis on socialization and talking with one another because the students have not met for a long time. “We consider that this last month will not make much of a difference regarding the curriculum, but it may help in socializing,” Timár added. As soon as the restrictions permit, teachers will also organize excursions for the students. Knowledge can be made up for — the priority now is the well-being of the students.

It will be hard to get students’ knowledge up to speed, says Mária Kósa, director of Brassai Sámuel Theoretical High School. Because of the ad hoc decisions of the government, it is very hard to plan anything. Students and teachers are very happy to have met though, she added.

Featured photo: János Zsigmond Unitarian College


Author: Blanka Székely