Teachers of Reddit, what are the biggest differences you’ve seen in your students pre and post pandemic?

Teachers of Reddit, what are the biggest differences you’ve seen in your students pre and post pandemic?

42 thoughts on “Teachers of Reddit, what are the biggest differences you’ve seen in your students pre and post pandemic?

  1. 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.

  2. I have noticed changes in my undergrads, but as a scientist, I want to be careful not to mistake correlation for causation. I don’t know if it’s the pandemic, generational changes, or something else.

    My students now seem very emotionally and intellectually fragile in a way they weren’t before. They are terrified of any sort of challenge or assessment. They do not want to engage with active learning much at all. They don’t want to be graded.

    This is not the same as saying they are just checked out of the educational process, quite the opposite. These students seem very eager to learn, but the process of being in the presence of unfamiliar information and challenging themselves to understand it seems to drive them to distraction.

  3. I work with younger kids, elementary but usually like K-4, and they have never learned or don’t remember a traditional classroom structure, and as a result they are extreeemely hard to control/get the attention of. No attention span, extremely distracted, talking over me way more than usual, and really a lot of them don’t know how to listen.

    It’s gotten extremely overwhelming, I can’t control a classroom anymore without stopping every 5 minutes, but maybe that’s just on me lol

    Also like another commenter said, they are afraid to try things by themselves and need a lot of extra help even for basic tasks

  4. Technically not a teacher but instead a TA.
    I work with 7/8th graders and I don’t think some of them were properly socialized at all to what middle school is actually like, some of them act more like elementary age students instead of students who are about to be high schoolers.
    I was in their shoes a few years back and I don’t think my group was nearly as bad as these guys are (Think screaming, knocking stuff off of tables, making nazi and homophobic jokes, as well as not giving a shit about the teacher.)
    I really really hope that they can mature enough to handle high school and life after that but I don’t think that’ll happen.

  5. Inner city teacher here.

    As others have said, the attention span is lower. Many kids dont 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 doesnt give an immediate answer, its 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.

  6. Elementary academic intervention specialist (mostly upper elementary) here. Most notable differences:

    – delayed 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

  7. Academically, not as much of a difference (though this will depend on literally dozens of factors, including age, district, state, etc.)

    My biggest difference? Lack of trust for adults in their lives. I think Covid was the first time they saw – much like 9/11 with my generation – that the adults and societal safeguards we are supposed to have in place to keep us safe just aren’t there. It was one big global, “Oh shit, the ADULTS don’t know what they’re doing either.” Kids can sense that, much better than we give them credit for, and it has had a big impact on how I build relationships with students. It’s just harder to convince them that I have their best interest at heart, that I can be trusted, and the school wants to keep them safe and help them succeed.

  8. A lack of maturity and many don’t remember how to behave in the classroom setting. My 10th graders act like middle school kids.

  9. The number of them that seem to be feral at breaktimes and lesson changeovers has increased markedly. The long period without socialisation seems to have turned a lot of them into screaming, shouting, physically aggressive monsters.

    And that starts right down at year 7 (US: 6th grade) and only seems to get worse as the ages go up.

  10. I work with teenagers at risk of dropping out of the system. What we’ve found quite clearly is that the pandemic has been another straw on the camels back. When you’ve already got a million things fighting against you (risk factors) adding another one on top of that is not going to help.

    Also when comparing to other students, a lot of the students I work with don’t have comfortable home lives, so being stuck at home during lock down has been even more of a negative experience.

  11. My mom is a high school teacher, and she’s told me that students are much more anxiety ridden from two years of social isolation, and will use this as an excuse to not be in class and be in the counselors office

  12. 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.

  13. Terrified of failure, to the point of preferring not to even attempt anything that seems initially difficult. Similarly, there is almost no curiosity anymore – if it can’t be found in the top five hits of a cursory Google search, they say they can’t find it at all.

    And of course, as everyone else here is saying, there are massive disparities in appropriate behavior in public/group settings, pre/post pandemic

  14. I teach university, and it has changed a little over time, but I’ve noticed more students writing with pen and paper rather than a laptop or tablet! It’s like they got tired of just staring at screens or something. Initially, when we went back to in-person teaching, students were also MUCH more likely to ask questions. Socially, I also think that young adults are also a little more social and looking to make up for lost time.

    Some downsides: MANY students are quick to expect the possibility of a zoom hybrid or recorded lecture even though the policy is clear on the syllabus. They are also less likely to use the physical library resources, instead relying on things that are available digitally for essays or assignments.

  15. Ive been working solely with 14-16 year olds for the past 6 years. They seemed much more sociable with each other and less phone-dependant before the pandemic. They also seem a lot more entitled and overconfident in their abilities now.

  16. Mental health was already not great. It is in the toilet now. The kids are not alright. Neither are the adults. Feels like everything is held together with the weakest glue right now.

  17. -They are much harder on themselves.

    -They are incredibly fearful of making mistakes

    -They are much more flexible, go with the flow

    -Kids wander the halls all day long. Like, just get up and leave class. I’d say 1/4 of the kids do this at some point during a week.

    I’m a middle school teacher

  18. My current group of freshman are functionally as mature as 7th graders. It makes sense, they missed a lot of the traditional middle school experience. The pandemic caused a lot of arrested development. I’m so sick of telling kids that they cannot fart on each other while I’m trying to teach.

  19. Inability to organize alphabetically. It’s hilarious and wild. All their notebooks (~80 total) are organized in a filing cabinet by last name and they cannot figure it out to save their lives.

  20. 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…

  21. 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.

  22. Does anyone have solutions? Parent of elementary age kid. She has a lot of these issues: scared of failure, lack of resiliency, no interest in trying new things, etc.

  23. 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).

  24. I dunno. In my case, me and my colleagues were less strict with coursework and due dates and all that because everybody was struggling, but it seems that way too many students want to continue acting like we’re still in the middle of the worst part of the pandemic and asking them to take their coursework seriously and turn in their work on time and all that is somehow unreasonable and we’re being assholes. If I’m always as flexible as they want, then most of them won’t do shit and won’t learn anything. And I’d understand if they were kids, but my students are on average about to graduate from college or already in their postgrad program.

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

    1) 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.

    2) 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.

    3) 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.

  26. I teach high school juniors, and it’s almost a micro-generation. It looks like the freshman coming up are more akin to the “normal” students I’m used to, but sophomores through seniors were all shaped by that distance year. Their earbuds and phones have gone beyond distractions to things they rely on to feel safe. They absolutely cannot go more than 10-20 minutes without needing to put on some kind of streaming or gaming service. The “bad” kids (stereotypically speaking) just blatantly ignore me and do literally nothing. But even the “good” kids are struggling hard with executive dysfunction. We’re gonna need serious social safety nets for these kids and soon. I really feel like I spend more time comforting kids who are just utterly broken than teaching them.

  27. The biggest problems I’ve seen is in student’s that were remote during first grade, and didn’t have the support they needed to keep them on task at home. The transition from Kindergarten to First is usually when “things get serious,” for lack of a better term, and students start to learn how to motivate themselves through tasks, as well as the obvious other things like first grade math.

    For students who were not supervised or held up to any standards at home, they basically came into second grade not knowing how to handle themselves in class, as well as not knowing any of the first grade level hard skills like math and reading that they needed to learn the second grade stuff. This meant for those students they had a high likelihood of immediately getting frustrated, giving up, tuning out, and misbehaving. I taught third grade and it was night and day who got the support during first grade remote learning and who didn’t.

    Higher grades were affected, but from what I could tell they tended to be more “quite a bit behind,” as opposed to “completely non-functional.”

  28. My preschool class went from having 1-2 high needs students to 5-8. Students didn’t understand why they had to leave there parents when we could study online. Parents were coping from their own depressions, xenophobia and other issues and pushing it on their kids. Domestic abuse was exacerbated and ignored at the same time. And then along all of this weakened immune systems, and hard-lined beliefs on vaccines or health… well we had 5 seperate outbreaks of different illness in one year, the first time I had ever had an outbreak in 15 years of teaching.

    At the end of it all the classes became more difficult to manage. The outbreaks of disease and the weird push to be more cautious from half the parents, and to ignore any ways we could protect the kids by the other half. A few of the more troublesome kids picked up on this and started spitting on eachother, or me when they were angry. One kid would try and wash other students toothbrush’s in a toilet when angry and all of this behavior was something I had never seen.

    It was hard. Bosses and managers struggled to juggle it all but I found it more profitable and better on my mind to switch to online only myself.

  29. I teach college so slightly different perspective but on a positive note students of all ages have way less issues interacting with online and e-content. Pre-COVID I still got a lot of resistance from older students and lots of “can’t access my account”, “can’t access the email my recovery password goes to”, etc… just like stuff that people encounter when they obviously aren’t familiar with tech. I know part of that is probably the tech getting better, but post-COVID almost no one has issues interacting with tech in the classroom.

    Also on a positive note high speed internet access is now assumed for students post-COVID (and our school was pushed to provide it for those that don’t have it in the home) whereas before access to reliable internet was a real concern for a significant portion of our students.

  30. At high school level, I see more “anti-social” behaviors. In that, we were all so isolated and doing remote learning for so long, they got very used to living in their own little bubbles. So I see more talking to yourself out loud, less asking classmates for help, less spatial awareness, random volume speaking levels.

  31. I teach high school. Kids act about 3-5 years younger than what they should. In all ways. Even like..hygiene.

  32. 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)

  33. I teach at the high school level, and the biggest difference I see is increased absence rates. I always felt like the attendance rate was lower than it should have been, but since the pandemic, it just seems to be higher. My public school system has put into place mechanisms that make it very easy for students to find make-up work online. At the same time, there is literally no sort of requirement for attendance in class (denial of credit, truancy investigation, etc…)

    I teach math and when I get make-up work from a student, often it the student does little more than write (or type) the answer to a question without showing any work whatsoever. And I’m talking tasks that would usually require extensive work like finding all roots to polynomial functions. I know the students just Photomathed the shit out of the questions, and then they bitch later when I don’t give them credit for copying their assignments from an electronic resource.

  34. I am in Japan. So the situation here is very different from places like the US. Kindergartners were seldom required to mask, because the rules became if you are sick and have a temperature you stay home. Eventually they settled down to masking if you might have a cold as per usual. Elementary school students love having a legitimate way to get out of showing their faces in school photos.

  35. I teach kindergarten and a bunch of my students hadn’t really been around other kids since maybe age 2. A lot of them were thrown about the concept of being with a group of kids all mostly doing the same thing. We would call everyone to sit in a circle on the carpet and some of them would go over to the little kitchen to play with the microwave or try to lay underneath a table. The TA and I would tell them it’s story time and the children are on the carpet now and the kids would genuinely be like, “got it. You all are doing story time. I will be over there in the little kitchen putting these fruits in the microwave.” For some of them it took a long time for it to sink in that they were in a group of children who were doing school.

    Some of the children seem starved for adult attention and act out for attention moreso than in the past. I have a few that are quite naughty until they receive a lot of individualized mom type nurturing. Which is probably what they need since some of their younger years were more rocky.

    A lot of the preschools were running on a skeleton crew that had a ton of kids and not enough staffing so the children didn’t receive the structure and probably attention they’d normally have had.

  36. I’m a k-8 music teacher, so I’ve gotten to see kids across a lot of grade levels. All grade levels were affected greatly, musically and most importantly, socially, but I think the age range that was really affected were the now 3rd graders, aka the kindergarteners that were sent home in March 2020. They’re just very immature and act out. but I can’t blame them- they missed out on the years that really get kids in routines, transitions, etc.
    Also, musically, I can’t tell you how detrimental it was to music departments around the world. I couldn’t have band from March 2020- August 2021. My middle schoolers lost pretty much all of their skills on their instruments and still haven’t recovered.

  37. Primary School Teacher:

    *Students are far more anxious and struggle with coping mechanisms or resilience when facing adversity.

    *Students have reduced attention spans and struggle to concentrate on intricate tasks for extended periods.

    *Absenteeism has gone through the roof. Kids and parents place less emphasis on attendance. Students regularly miss a day or two a week.

    *Achievement. Students aren’t as fixated on completing activities or gaining high marks as it is seen as important.

    *Reliance on or addiction to devices and technology.

    Post-Pandemic results have not been great unfortunately.

  38. I teach adults.
    Pre-pandemic, I routinely had students come to class sick. Now, we’re all more conscious of our health and more willing to miss class to stay home and recuperate.
    I’d say we finally got our priorities straight. School will still be there when you’re well. Taking care of yourself should be your first priority. Even if you’re a parent, *you can’t pour from an empty cup.*

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