Maia McLean is missing her friends. Of course she communicates with them through social media, but the Grade 7 student has not had an actual conversation with any of them for weeks, and it’s getting to her. With so little happening, there is not much to talk about, except maybe the start of a new TV show.
Active in clubs, sports and drama, Maia’s world has shrunk significantly in the last ten weeks. There is good news: she feels rested and has noticed that some of her friends look healthier as well, now they have been released from the early bus pickups and the late activities, both scheduled and self-imposed.
She feels good about her room which is clean and organized with new posters exhibiting her maturing interests. That is more important now that Maia spends so much time there.
But Maia is worried. She feels unproductive and unmotivated. Instead of embracing her new found freedom, she misses the structure of the school day, and finds suggestions from her mother, who is a teacher herself, unhelpful. For the first time, Maia just skipped an assignment, and others have been handed in late, which is out of character. It doesn’t help to know that grades on new work cannot negatively affect her final mark.
Despite having more time, Maia is reading less, but spending more time outside, particularly now the weather has improved. Because it is so warm, Maia feels like summer vacation has arrived, but without the fun activities like camp and activities with friends. School is beginning to feel somewhat irrelevant.
In some ways, Maia is glad that this is the year school is cancelled, as she is not missing the “drama” that occurs most frequently at the Intermediate school level. There is little evidence of bullying, as this is usually sparked by something that happens at school, such as poor wardrobe selection or a social faux pas. At the moment, there’s not much new material to use.
The pandemic has also put into perspective the pending transition to Crestwood Intermediate School in September. It now seems like no big deal. She is reassured by the fact that some of the Millbrook teachers will be making the move with their students, and expects to make new friends and do just fine, as long as these bad academic habits don’t persist.
Not all elementary students share Maia’s frustration. Her younger brother is delighted with his wide open schedule but admits he is bored. He is currently trying out his entrepreneurial skills with a lemonade stand. There are some good life lessons in that venture.
Whenever school returns, our students will be rested and ready to try something new with their friends. It might even involve school work. The school experience will look different, but kids adapt quickly. The adults in their lives will just have to keep up. KG