COMMENTARY: Distance learning has proven to be more difficult than expected for students

April 28, 2020 /


As I begin my sixth week of distance learning, my education has become harder than ever before. And I know I am not alone. With the COVID-19 pandemic, children across the nation are facing educational challenges, and some needs aren’t being met.

A study released by the Pew Research Center suggests that 36 percent of parents are somewhat worried about their children falling behind. As a student, I can attest to that concern. No matter what amount of homework or classwork teachers assign, it can’t beat the traditional classroom setting.

I have always been a good student; however, I always relied on the school schedule to help me with my routine of turning in assignments in a timely manner. Now, with the freedom to procrastinate, I’m having a difficult time performing the way I did when school was open. 

The obstacles at home keep me from being able to do my schoolwork. What was once a short walk to the teacher’s desk has now become a scheduled Zoom meeting when I need help from teachers. 

And now, I am not able to focus on my own work. I have to help my sibling with her homework, while my parents, who are essential workers, go to work. I have found myself giving more effort in providing my sister a support system then focusing on my work. 

Although my school in McFarland has been helpful by lending students computers and providing meals, it would be so helpful if teachers could make their hours more expandable, I think that would greatly help me manage my sister’s work and my own. 

I worry about my younger sister. I don’t have the skills she requires from her teachers, which can make learning challenging for her. My sister requires a lot of one-on-one help from teachers. Since I am not a teacher with a degree, I can not provide her with the assistance she needs. 

My parents are extremely worried about our education as we take this long break from our education. According to NPR, when schools shut down in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, students suffered from loss of learning. Now that schools are shut down, it’s inevitably our learning will deteriorate.

Not only are my parents worried about our education, they are worried about isolation. I have been feeling a bit trapped in my home and very unproductive, which has led to unproductive habits. 

My parents are also saddened about missing mine and my sister’s graduation, something they have been waiting for for years.

As if I wasn’t stressed out enough, I am worried about our placement tests like the California Assessment of Placement and Progress. According to the CAASPP website, the testing is being suspended, but this test is essential in establishing placement. 

If we do not take it this year, how are the students going to be placed in accurate classes? If students aren’t properly placed in their classes, this could affect students’ learning even more. 

Because of this pandemic, my parents feel a sense of helplessness knowing their efforts to give my siblings and I the best education possible has fallen short because of a pandemic.  

Even though complaining about going to school was part of my normal routine, I now understand how vital it is for me. During my time off of school, I have gained a new respect for my teachers and realize I need school in order to get a quality education. School was a privilege that I took advantage of. I just hope I can go back to school soon. 

Aimee is an 8th grader who lives in McFarland.

Kern Sol News is a nonprofit news organization in Kern County. In addition to reporting stories that shed light on health and racial disparities in under-served communities across Kern, Kern Sol News also offers youth journalism training opportunities. For more stories by South Kern Sol, head to