Remote Learning Testimonials

Issue 9, Volume 111

By The Editorial Board 

We sent out an anonymous form for students to share their thoughts about mental health, workload, or anything else regarding this past semester. Here is what they said*:

1. My experience with Stuyvesant remote learning has been an ongoing rollercoaster. Some days workloads will be extremely heavy, where I spend my nights crying up until midnight. Whereas, other days I feel less overwhelmed and can handle it. One thing I would like to point out is that through remote learning, it is very hard for me to grasp onto topics. As each day teachers pile us with more and more assignments, it eventually becomes extremely draining and exhausting. And the teachers have done nothing about it, if I'm being quite honest. Aside from synchronous and asynchronous day work, I have no social life. I don't speak to anyone that goes to Stuyvesant, if I do it's only during the few minutes we are in breakout rooms. At times it does get lonely having no one to relate to or talk to about my experiences here. Oftentimes I do find myself contemplating if it will be worth it after four years and if I want to stay here, at Stuyvesant. —freshman female

2. The situation we’re in has negatively (and positively) affected people in so many different ways; Yes, some of us have acquired new interests or ways of thinking, and I’m thankful that I’ve used this last year to develop my beliefs. But my morals have also been solidified and I can assert that the administration has done a less than poor job in accommodating us. The mental health of our entire generation has deteriorated, ED culture is rampant, and school has done nothing but make all of this an excruciatingly painful transition. Enforcing a homework policy that does nothing but account for classes meeting every other day, forcing students to use their cameras, treating lessons and assigning work as you would if we were attending classes as normal—the administration might see this as an attempt in emulating on campus classes, but all we, as students, see is adults inconsiderately pretending that our problems don’t exist. —sophomore female

3. I think it’s rather obvious from the over 300+ comments on the original Facebook post regarding this topic that students aren’t really pleased with the administration’s handling of remote learning. The most egregious of it all is probably the homework policy adjustments, making it so students can get up to four hours of homework on certain days which is just incredibly unhealthy and can cause serious burnout. I’ve had to stay up till 1:00 am doing multiple assignments assigned by my teachers because the homework policy allows for it. It gets extremely hard having to balance all the extra work as well as extracurricular and classes outside of school without feeling burnt out or extremely stressed out. —Luca Adeishvili, sophomore male

4. Many of my teachers have been unsympathetic to students’ needs and extraordinarily hypocritical in their expectations for students. Several of my teachers expect work to be submitted on time and emphasize that they will deduct points if not turned in on time, yet have graded my assignments from September in January, or have not been bothered to even look at my work. At that point, what difference does it make if I submit my work in September or December? Additionally, teachers continue to blatantly ignore homework/test policies and continue to assign useless, tedious, busywork assignments. I genuinely don't think I have learnt a fragment of new information in any of my classes because teachers teach a "flipped classroom" or just go over homework all period instead of teaching new, informative content. Several of my teachers have also not updated grades, and some continue to not use an online grade-book despite multiple requests to do so—this leaves me with no understanding of what my grade is or how I could possibly improve. Not only must I attend classes in which I learn nothing, but on top of that I am forced to learn on my own and teach myself in order to stay afloat in all of my classes. Personally, it is extremely taxing on my mental health and honestly has taken a toll on my physical health as well. My intent in expressing my frustrations is not to place blame on teachers, but rather to highlight the ineffectiveness of current policies and procedures. I understand wholly that teachers have multiple classes and many students, but all the student body is asking for is more sympathy and less hypocrisy. —junior female

5. As someone who would never think to have a late assignment pre-quarantine, I am now in a constant state of making up late work. —senior female

6. It is widely understood that teachers will not be able to fulfill the curriculum requirements this year. Despite what the College Board is forcing, there’s just no way for the teachers to teach full curricula. Even though this is accepted, they seem to be forcing what they can down our throats. If a student needs to focus on their mental health, it’s discouraged. We understand that this isn’t easy for our teachers, but this feeling isn’t always reciprocated. Many teachers have said to me or friends that it’s imperative that we show up to every class session and complete the work in a timely manner. This just isn’t possible for everyone. There needs to be more empathy displayed in every direction: between teachers, admin, and students. Everyone is ready to point their finger at someone else (us students are guilty of it), but we need to come to the realization that we can’t have the same expectations as past years and that this needs to be a collaborative effort. —senior male

7. Stuyvesant’s handling of remote learning has been poor. I remember when schools had just closed due to the virus, tons of schools around the city had a week-long break to ease the transition, but Stuy didn’t give us a break: from that moment on, I began to lose faith in the administration. I understand where the administration is coming from; I’m sure they face tons of pressure from parents to uphold academic rigor as their child/children are more academically successful than others. I just wish that the administration was more caring. Upholding academic rigor and caring for your students’ mental health aren’t mutually exclusive. I can’t stress enough how tone-deaf the administration has been. The administration is just continuing like business as usual, but these aren’t usual times. —sophomore male

8. I undoubtedly have depression. I detest people who ridicule others for self-diagnosing or asking others to just "toughen up." Someone knows if they have depression. They are not making this up for attention or clout, and it is utterly atrocious for someone to insinuate that. No, that is not possible when the immediate environment surrounding you is something so unbearable. And discussing mental health with my parents is laughable. They think it's some type of teenage temporary insanity. They don't understand it. And I hate to say it, but Stuy's counseling is really bad. The "coping at home" sessions do not help in the slightest. My guidance counselor has not responded to my email asking for mental resources. I do not think my parents will want to pay for anything relating to therapy. I think it is only until the pandemic ends and I can go back to Manhattan out of this damned borough and house will I find peace. —sophomore

*Certain responses have been edited for length and clarity.