This week, for the first time in two years, M-A students are taking in-person finals. Sophomores and freshmen have never taken in-person high school finals, and even juniors and seniors haven’t been on campus for finals since they were underclassmen. For many students, finals season is always stressful, but for some, nerves are especially high this year.
French teacher Florence Tubiana explained that distance learning made it difficult for students to transition back to school, something that continues to affect students’ preparedness for finals. She said, “I think students took bad habits from last year, with the light schedule and less homework each day. So I think that coming back was hard, especially for freshmen and sophomores who are not even familiar with the campus.”
In contrast, “With the upperclassmen, the idea of finals isn’t as foreign, so they’re going in with a better understanding of what to expect,” explained Patrick Roisen, who teaches both regular and AP Biology.
Still, students of all grades have mentioned that COVID-19 and distance learning made it difficult to prepare for finals this semester. Junior Dafne Segura Diaz said, “It was easier during COVID. It was at your own pace, and I feel like teachers went easier on you. Now, during in-person, there’s usually way more material.”
Sophomore Nat Barman added, “I’m a little stressed because teachers are now like, ‘we’re back in person, so you’re not going to have this safety net anymore.’ Last year teachers helped us out more, like some teachers let us use notes on the final, which isn’t happening this year. Still, I think it’s also going to be easier to test in an actual classroom rather than my bedroom.”
Teachers have adapted their finals to make sure that students are prepared. Tubiana said, “I’m approaching finals differently this year: I’m giving finals that are not as specific as I used to with reviewing vocabulary and grammar. This time, it’s more generic.” However, she added, “I’m glad to be able to help my students, but I don’t think we’re necessarily doing them a favor, because this is what it’s about. This is a real schedule. It’s not harder than usual. They were just used to a different schedule and much less work. So as much as I understand their stress, I’m here to make the students independent.”
Ethnic Studies and Modern European History teacher Amanda Alvarez said that even though students came back from distance learning with “gaps in their skills like writing and reading stamina,” she’s still “confident that my students are ready for their final and will do well on it.”
As the Chronicle reported last …….