Opinion Blog

Classroom Q&A

With Larry Ferlazzo

In this EdWeek blog, an experiment in knowledge-gathering, Ferlazzo will address readers’ questions on classroom management, ELL instruction, lesson planning, and other issues facing teachers. Send your questions to lferlazzo@epe.org. Read more from this blog.

Teaching Opinion

Students Share How COVID Has Changed Their Lives

By Larry Ferlazzo — February 08, 2022 7 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

(This is the final post in a two-part series. You can see Part One here.)

The new questions-of-the-week (directed toward students) is:

What is the best thing about school this year? Why?

What is the worst thing about school this year? Why?

Several students from our school shared their responses to these questions in Part One.

Here are even more:

Disrupted Plans

Pachia Xiong is a junior at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, Calif.:

The best thing about school this year is being able to hang out with my friends again. I think this is the best thing for me this year because I don’t have to use social media or Zoom to contact them. As the previous school year was spent through distance learning, I had little contact with my friends because I was not someone who frequented my social media back then. Now, I am able to, with ease, talk to them in person. It feels much nicer that way.

The worst thing about school this year is being unable to do everything I planned because of COVID-19. Over last year, during distance learning, I was highly hopeful of returning to school in person. Following those hopes came the goals I wanted to achieve upon our return. Some of which involved holding club events and activities that could be enjoyed by both club members and outsiders. However, the rise in COVID-19 cases put a lid over those goals, and now, everything feels as though it’s come to a stop.


‘Classes Are Easier’

Brenda Lin is a senior at Luther Burbank High School:

The best thing about this year is that most of my classes are easier because of the pandemic. For example, most of my finals for first semester were really easy because a lot of it was stress-free assignments. The teachers are more understanding about missing work and absences, and overall, I get sick less when I’m at school because I’m wearing a mask all the time. Overall, it’s a good way to end my high school years.

The worst thing about this year is that we have to be in school during the pandemic. When we were in distance learning, it was definitely a lot easier in terms of difficulty of assignments, but my motivation was very low. It is about the same in in-person school, but now, I have to worry about getting sick and bringing it back to all my family members. Not only that, but some of my teachers assign difficult assignments and require a lot of time and work to complete, and it’s not something I’m willing to do.


‘Being Able to Learn New Things’

Abby Funez is a senior at Luther Burbank High School:

The best thing about school this year is being able to learn new things every day that benefit me later on in life. This is the best thing because I am able to grow in knowledge and mature a lot more. For example, I am learning how to write essays while being timed and under pressure. This will help me in my admissions for classes in college and to be a better writer, which will benefit me long term throughout my life.

The worst thing about school this year is wearing masks. This is the worst thing because it makes it harder to hear our teachers and students within our area. In my Spanish class, my teacher is unable to hear other students even when they are standing by her because of the masks. This makes my life difficult because I miss important concepts of the lesson being taught at times.


‘Teachers Are More Lenient’

Julianna Eakle is a junior at Luther Burbank High School:

The best thing about this school year is how the teachers are more lenient of our absences or our missing assignments. For example, our principal put out an email saying that he understands if parents would like to keep us home due to our safety, for students just to continue doing our work online. My teachers were very concerned about me not attending class but did everything to help me stay on top of my grades.

The worst thing about this school year is people not having their masks over their nose and mouths. There are at least 3 teachers a day telling one of their students to put their mask over their nose and mouth. It’s a serious problem, and because of that one person, COVID cases start to spike fast.


‘We Can’t Eat or Drink Water in Class’

Van Bui is a senior at Luther Burbank High School:

The best thing about school this year is meeting new people and joining different sports like volleyball and track and field. This is the best thing because it taught me to enjoy life and take risks as I go. For example, I get to know a lot of people and hang out with them to do fun activities with, and joining different sports allowed me to step out of my boundaries and improve my health especially during these times. This makes my life better because I was always scared to talk to people and do different sports.

The worst thing about school this year is having COVID-19 going on still. This is the worst thing because I always have to wear a mask and there are limited activities that we can do in school. For example, we can’t eat or drink water in class, waking up early in the morning, and before getting fresh air, it’s blocked by wearing a mask for 8 hours straight. This makes my life worse because I find it very difficult to breathe or eat in class.


‘We Are Back in Person’

Lakeyah Roots is a junior at Luther Burbank High School:

The best thing about school this year is being able to learn in person. When we were doing distance learning, being able to learn the information being taught to me and my ability to do my schoolwork was not good. But now that we are back in person, I feel like I can do more work more efficiently and really get the help I need. Distance learning has taught me that doing school online does not suit me.

The worst thing about school is COVID cases. Students were getting sick, and that caused the class to be empty sometimes. The classroom does not feel the same when it is not filled with the students you normally see every day. It is not fun not being able to do certain activities because of COVID. It’s best to keep our distance from one another, but sometimes I miss the days when we were able to do certain class activities before COVID hit.


Seeing Friends

Joanna Medrano-Gutierrez is a junior at Luther Burbank High School:

The best thing about this school year is being able to see my friends again. This is the best thing about this school year because I haven’t seen most of them since the pandemic started. For example, I haven’t seen a certain friend since March 2020, but now, this school year, we are closer than we were before.

The worst thing about this school year is adapting back into waking up early again. This is the worst thing about the pandemic because I got so used to sleeping late and sleeping in, and then I had to get used to waking up early. For example, before I woke up at 9 a.m.-12 p.m., but now I wake up at 6 a.m.-7 a.m.


Thanks to Pachia, Brenda, Abby, Julianna, Van, Lakeyah, and Joanna for contributing their thoughts.

Consider contributing a question to be answered in a future post. You can send one to me at lferlazzo@epe.org. When you send it in, let me know if I can use your real name if it’s selected or if you’d prefer remaining anonymous and have a pseudonym in mind.

You can also contact me on Twitter at @Larryferlazzo.

Education Week has published a collection of posts from this blog, along with new material, in an e-book form. It’s titled Classroom Management Q&As: Expert Strategies for Teaching.

Just a reminder; you can subscribe and receive updates from this blog via email (The RSS feed for this blog, and for all Ed Week articles, has been changed by the new redesign—new ones are not yet available). And if you missed any of the highlights from the first 10 years of this blog, you can see a categorized list below.

I am also creating a Twitter list including all contributors to this column.

Related Tags:

The opinions expressed in Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
From Chaos to Clarity: How to Master EdTech Management and Future-Proof Your Evaluation Processes
The road to a thriving educational technology environment is paved with planning, collaboration, and effective evaluation.
Content provided by Instructure
Special Education Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table - Special Education: Proven Interventions for Academic Success
Special education should be a launchpad, not a label. Join the conversation on how schools can better support ALL students.
Special Education K-12 Essentials Forum Innovative Approaches to Special Education
Join this free virtual event to explore innovations in the evolving landscape of special education.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching What the Research Says Team Teaching: A Boost to Teacher Retention
A study of Mesa, Ariz., teachers finds the collaborative approach boosts career satisfaction and effectiveness.
4 min read
Teachers and administrator talking outside school building.
E+ / Getty
Teaching Opinion 5 Simple Teacher Moves With Big-Time Payoffs
Giving students time to reflect on their work is like clicking "save." If teachers don't do it, learning can get lost.
11 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
Teaching Opinion Better Classroom Management Can't Wait. How to Make Changes Now
The three “truths” about managing student behavior that every teacher should unlearn today.
Andrew Kwok
4 min read
A grid of classroom elements with lines flowing in and out of the segments.
iStock/Getty Images + Education Week
Teaching Opinion 4 Instructional Strategies Teachers Can Count On
Students can understand more challenging concepts when they have multiple opportunities to see how the content relates to other standards.
12 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."