Decreased Motivation Plagues Students Due to School Closure


Paddy O’Leary studies for online schooling

Grace Rickey

With the devastating coronavirus pandemic plaguing us all and the resulting school closure, students are finding it far more difficult to remain focused on their schoolwork. 

Most students are lacking motivation to do any work or attend Zoom classes for a variety of reasons. This is a situation unlike any other for students. The district recently made the decision to temporarily eliminate the normal grading system, as it’s simply not fair and students can no longer receive the help and proper instruction for each assignment. However, from the lack of pressure and uniformity that a normal school day provides to the newly introduced credit/no credit system, students are left with the question: Why do any work at all? 

While interviewing students on how they’re coping with all the new changes, it became apparent that their answers had many similarities. 

Junior Paddy O’Leary expressed multiple reasons why he thinks it’s progressively becoming more challenging. 

“I think students are unmotivated to do their school work for a variety of reasons,” O’Leary stated. “A major reason being they can’t technically be told to do their work, so they see it as less important or avoidable. The workload is also far less so it makes the work seem less significant, leading to less effort being given.”

Sophomore Sydney Neseralla offered some other reasons she believes are more detrimental to her learning process. 

“I definitely think it’s harder to learn new concepts because there’s not the same motivation to wake up for Zoom meetings rather than enforced school days,” Neserella confesses. “Additionally, it’s just much harder to understand and comprehend the lessons on Zoom than it is to have a teacher explain it directly to you in person. When a student, or anyone really, doesn’t understand something, there’s a much higher probability they won’t get around to it. I also know that for those with really good grades, and the new system, they know that they can fall behind and almost stop doing school work entirely because they will still pass all their classes. The new system can be easily taken advantage of.”

Sophomore, Sean McGinnis, simplified his response to the academic situation as a student who is self-motivated and typically thrives with online learning. 

“Typically, I would really love the new system. Yet, I just feel that the combination of this crazy time we’re in and the new grading system makes doing work a lesser priority for me. I hate to say it but statistically I know I can just not do work and it’ll basically have the same outcome either way for me,” he said.

With the similarity among the students’ responses, and the possible longevity of this pandemic, it’s time to start thinking about adjustments going forward that will motivate the student population as a whole. For students who prioritize their academics, this situation can be extremely frustrating as it can feel as if all their hard work was put to waste. On the contrary, for students who don’t typically find the motivation as it is, many have lost any incentive entirely.