Zack Sharp - feature lockdown impact on students

By Zack Sharp
With no textbooks to teach what to do in a global pandemic, and as assignments are still piling up, could this possibly be the biggest challenge pupils have faced in recent years?

It comes as no shock that the current outbreak of coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the economy of Britain.

And it may seem simple to write off students as having it the ‘easiest’ or being impacted the least, without the worries of covering bills, finding employment and keeping the pantry shelves from going bare.

But what if I told you that by being away from schools, students are without the support of teachers to learn and build new skills and consequently are in a state of struggle, worry and confusion.

For example, try and place yourself in the position of an engineer or photography student, who are without the selection of tools required to build prototypes and models or can’t go to black rooms to process photographs for an important collage.

There is little such students can do, being stuck at home, and this comes with great frustration.

I’m sure parents would not be happy with their children taping black cards all over the living room walls and dangling red, LED lights from the ceilings to recreate the experience.

So what can these pupils do?

Government officials have given few guidelines on how to proceed with home learning and exam boards have yet to provide any support to aid pupils.

So students are left in the dark, confused on how they should proceed with their courses and what the outcome will be.

How am I involved in all this? My name is Zack Sharp, and I am a year 12 A-level student living in Nantwich, studying English Language, Biology and Psychology.

Before A-levels, I had never studied Psychology and had no previous knowledge on the topic.

This has placed me and other students in a similar situation at a major disadvantage, as I was hurled into a whirlwind of new and challenging content without knowing a few months later I’d be suddenly stranded, away from support and resources for months on end.

Not to mention the already extremely tight deadlines – there’s just no time to afford months of uncompleted work, yet that’s the situation I and many students across the globe are facing.

And where are teachers in all this?

Well, they too are facing their own struggles, as they are expected to aid each and every student they teach.

Attempting to create virtual powerpoints, assignments and lessons as well as catering for the children of key workers, with all of this, it would be insane to assume the personal attention students receive from subject teachers would remain the same, as everyone is separated and extremely busy.

And it is practically impossible to teach lessons ‘per usual’ – as every student is in a completely different situation.

I know I’ve had my fair share of internet malfunctions but let’s not forget some pupils are without technology or internet altogether and are completely out of the loop, while others have all the books, resources and Wi-Fi they need.

It’s fair to say these are not easy times for anyone, but the uncertainty and pressure placed on students who were already in a world of chaos before lockdown are immense.

Let’s hope (certainly for my frenzied self) that more support and options become available for students all over the country and world.

We are easily learning the biggest life lesson yet – on how to become vastly more independent during such unprecedented, isolating times.

Ironically, though, this lesson is far away from a school or classroom.

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