Now that we have had our 5th and 6th grade students back four days per week for the past two weeks, things are almost starting to feel normal.  To adults, sometimes it is easy to think that we are making progress and strides, but it is important to also listen to our young people’s perspectives. 

This week, some of our 5th and 6th grade students were gracious enough to speak with me about their perspectives on the shift back to 4 days per week. I hope you will appreciate their thoughts as much as I have.

5th grade student Tim
It’s nice to be back with friends and in a bigger group. I do miss working at my own pace, though.

5th grade student Kayleigh
“It’s fun to be back, especially with friends. Sometimes people forget to keep their masks pulled up, but it’s good to not be stuck at home so much. I am able to understand the work so much better, especially because we practice it in class before we work on it at home.

5th grade student Ava
“I like it better being in school 4 days a week. We can get help whenever we need it. It’s easier to do stuff because we practice it first while we are in class.  Now we can relax when we’re at home.

6th grade student Ava
“It feels more normal. There’s more work. I learn better with more people around. I am excited to be back. I sort of like that we have to wash hands and people are keeping their distance and not breathing on you. It feels really safe. I like having our own space. Even though the desks are small, it’s better to keep organized.

6th grade student Theo
“It’s easier to learn when we are here (at school). We can ask more questions and it’s easier to use technology (sometimes the wifi is slow at home). It’s a lot easier to look up what I need for classes.  Sometimes it is a little difficult to see the board because of people’s heads and all of the plexiglass. But all of the hand washing is good because it keeps us healthy.

6th grade student Emily
“It’s very nice to be back, but it is louder sometimes with more people here. Class is really calm (but recess is still fun). It’s a good (just right) amount of work.

6th grade student Noah
I am surprised that the classroom is almost never out of control, even with more people.  Everyone has their own space with tiny tables.

6th grade student Cohen
“I liked being home, and it’s a little cramped now that everyone is back.  But now I’m getting more learning done. Now I’m in longer classes instead of watching videos and just doing work. It feels like things are getting back to normal now that we can see everybody.

6th grade student Isabel
It’s good to be back and that there is less remote work. When we’re at home we can’t interact with the teacher or each other. My parents can help, but they don’t know the work as well. Seeing so many people during recess is nice. I missed everyone after 10 months of not seeing them. Some of my closest friends weren’t connected with my family, so it’s nice to be able to see them now.  It’s awesome to be with the teacher and ask questions and get help if we’re confused. It feels easier to ask questions in the room. I think it’s better because it feels more focused.  It actually feels really safe to be back with everyone. Teachers are really working hard to help everyone follow the procedures to keep us safe.”

We are all grateful for the time we do have together in school. We continue to be thankful for all of our students, staff and families in their support of the work we do to keep everyone safe, healthy and in school.

Justin Brown is the Principal at BFA Fairfax Middle School. He is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him on Twitter @jbrownenator.

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