Student Motivation Pre and Post Pandemic


Aamie Bertolosso, Staff Editor

After returning to school in person, teachers have noticed a change in their student’s desire to complete their work, partially due to distance learning. Is it possible to get that desire back for students?

During the last “normal” school year 2 years ago, the average grades for students were passing grades, even in the more difficult classes. Mr. Kroll, a 10th/11th Grade History and APUSH teacher at HHS, said, “I would say that most my classes were averaging a C+/B-”

Mr. Govett, an English 10 and Sports PE teacher at HHS, had a higher student average. “So, I went back to my gradebook from Fall 2019 (the last full semester before shutting down for Covid) and the class averages were in the 83-86% range for English 10.

Surprisingly, although distance learning seemed to be more challenging for students to learn, the student average seemed to stay the same. Mr. Kroll said, “I would say that my class average was similar but we were far more accommodating with students under the circumstances.  We gave no grade lower than 50% even if never completed, provided extended time for late work, and generally went at a slower pace.”

Now that students are back to learning in person, teachers are beginning to see their students’ grades are closer to what they were pre-covid. Mr. Govett says, “My classes are pretty close to the pre-Covid averages.  I may have a couple more students with bad grades than normal, but part of that could be from missing school early this semester with high Covid rates.  I missed four days myself, starting the second day of this semester.  It was a game of catch-up for teachers and students alike.”

Going through distance learning, it was common for students to not have the desire to learn and do their work since everything was online. This year, teachers have noticed that students are struggling to get that desire back or even have it at all. Mr. Kroll said, “It does feel that many students are struggling with motivation.  Honestly, I think that everyone was so excited about just getting back to school last year that there was a higher sense of desire.  I believe that for many students the expectation was that this year would be totally normal and it has been anything but normal.  From wearing masks everyday to continual Covid disruptions; the joy was sucked from many students.”

Mr. Parker, a Math 2, Math 2 Honors, and Finite Math teacher at HHS opposingly states, “ I think for most students, their desire to do work and their work habits have not changed.  However, I have noticed about 10 to 15% of my students have done far worse this year as opposed to previous years.  I think part of this was the lack of true studying during the distance learning portion (I.e. no true tests were given then).  I think another aspect was that a few students became accustomed to the 50% minimum that was given during distance learning, which meant they had to do less to get a good grade.”

Although students’ desire to do their work has changed, teachers are hopeful that there is something that can be done to change that, even if it’s not easy. Mr. Govett says, “As a teacher, having energy and enthusiasm daily is a big part.  Scheduling kids for pack time can work as well.  I had a kid who had not turned in any of the first 13 assignments from the first few weeks.  I pulled him into Pack Time for a couple days and told him I would give him full credit for any late work he turned in.  He got two assignments finished the first day, and a couple more the next day.  That kickstarted him back into action.”

Mr. Kroll agreed, saying, “There is no simple solution to improving the desire of students.  We as teachers can just continue to provide a positive environment for students and try to help bring out the best in them.  Try to inspire them to never give up on themselves.”

Now that  we are more than half way through the school year, teachers have noticed some changes in their students’ behaviors. Mr. Kroll says, “It feels as though students are getting restless earlier in the second semester than usual.  Many students are tired of wearing masks, the weather has been all over the place, and students are just behaving like it is April already.  It is just proving more difficult than usual to keep students motivated and productive.”

Even though change is expected by teachers, there are some changes that have come as a surprise to teachers as well. “I do want to mention that although some students have been struggling more than in previous years,  I am pleasantly surprised by the effort and drive that most students have been putting into their coursework!” says Mr. Parker. 

Mr. Govett said, “Surprisingly, there have been areas where I expected to observe more learning loss, but students surprised me.  I expected to deal with maturity issues on some levels (my current 10th graders haven’t had a full normal year of school since they were middle-schoolers).”

Mr. Kroll said, “Honestly, what has surprised me the most is seeing students who were supper driven and motivated struggle to just get by.  It has been heartbreaking to see these students thrive and push themselves to be their best and now post-Covid they have lost the drive.”

To bring light to the situation, teachers believe that students’ desire has gotten better and will continue to get better as time goes on. Mr. Kroll said, “I have seen improvement and I truly believe brighter days are ahead for all of us.”

Mr. Govett concludes by saying, “Things are definitely getting better.  It’s been easy for everyone involved to get frustrated, but I feel like things are improving.”