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Life in middle school: School lessons from quarantine

By Molly Robson

When people think about school, they usually think of classrooms full of kids, crowded lunchrooms and students walking through the halls.

Well, for the last four months of eighth grade, my school year was the exact opposite.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic situation, classrooms, lunchrooms and hallways were all empty and I saw my classmates only when — and if — they chose to turn on their Google Meet cameras. We did art projects with minimal supplies, a science experiment using cornstarch and took we photos of our math problems to show our work.

It was as hard on the teachers as it was on us. With online school, the teachers couldn't keep track of what we were doing while in class. Kids could be scrolling through their phones, texting their friends or — as it was sometimes in my case — reading a book off-camera while also trying to listen. 

The days blurred together during our time sheltering at home, so every class felt the same after a while. It seemed like there was no need to listen, because every class was just a buffering Google Meet and listening to a teacher explaining a project. 

How wrong I was! Exams hit us full force in June and those who didn’t pay attention in class were scrambling to watch every how-to algebra video on YouTube they could, or rifling through old science assignments to find a citation. 

Sometimes school can teach unexpected lessons. Hopefully, the experience of going to school virtually during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic serves as a lesson to me and my classmates as we enter high school this year. The lesson is that learning always involves hard work and paying attention, no matter how the teaching is delivered.

One thing is for sure: I definitely won't forget my eighth grade school year!

Molly Robson is a student entering Grade 9 at Cayman International School.

This article originally appeared in the September 2020 print edition of Camana Bay Times with the headline "School Lessons from Quarantine".