Many students feel academically and emotionally unprepared for this school year

Many students feel unprepared academically and emotionally for this school year
Published: Aug. 8, 2021 at 5:31 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Many students are already back in the classroom and more will head back this week. After a year of online classes and hybrid learning models, some students feel they aren’t ready academically or emotionally to be back to full in-person learning.

″It was really tough and I kind of felt isolated in a way because it’s not the same seeing your friends and teachers through a screen than it is seeing them in person,” Mia, a high school student, explained.

Students are back in-person after a rollercoaster year of learning during the pandemic. Mia said she’s feeling a mix of emotions coming back.

″I felt nervous seeing my friends and that’s not me. I was really more outgoing and just put myself out there, but then all of the sudden going back I kind of felt more closed off just because I haven’t seen anyone,” she said.

Mia is not alone in feeling this way. In a recent survey by the nonprofit Junior Achievement of Arizona, they spoke with over 1,000 students and found that over 30% of students in the 13-17 age group feel they will need additional emotional support this school year. Another major concern – learning loss.

“What we found is that 2 in 5, about 39% of teens feel like they’re behind in education because of the pandemic. And about a third of those feel like that gap might be permanent,” Junior Achievement’s Anne Landers said. She adds that the pandemic has profound and likely long-term effects on teens, and not just academically, but mentally as well.

“There’s still a lot of instability, a lot of unknown,” Landers said. “There’s a whole lot of life change that’s happened over the last year, some permanent, some was just influx. So these students are probably feeling a little more uncertain and a little more shaky.”

Landers said adults play a big part in teens’ lives and it is up to adult mentors to do what they can to give students the support they need, and one easy way to do this is to be more open to listening to what teens have to say.

“Having really close adult support to lean in whether that’s educators, parents, or bosses in their jobs, volunteers in their classrooms or elsewhere. Adults need to lean in and say, ‘we’re here and we can help you see those possibilities in your future,” she said.

Junior Achievement has more resources for parents and students as they return back to school.

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