Covid’s Effects on Student Maturity

Covids Effects on Student Maturity

Harper Lower and Lilly Kaufmann

Oftentimes, the two-year absence of classroom discussions, school lunches, and quality time with friends gets pushed to the forefront of Covid’s legacy. Although schools across the country have made some efforts, the more detrimental effects on student life are not as readily addressed. Maturity levels, particularly seen in current freshmen and sophomore classes have agreeably, by a handful of SSFS faculty, dropped. Due to the lack of preparedness for high school, changes in time management capabilities, limited self-advocacy, and significant mistreatment of other students have been observed. 

According to multiple teachers at SSFS, there is a significant decrease in maturity for classes ‘24 and ‘25. This is mainly due to a lack of examples set by older students because of virtual learning and social distancing. This makes it difficult for incoming underclassmen to know how they should behave in a high school setting. A teacher pointed out that some freshmen make more offensive jokes since they have been behind a screen for two years. Many students have trouble sitting in their chairs for an extended period of time because during virtual learning they were free to get up whenever they needed. According to one of our teachers, many students in the freshman class get up to go to the bathroom 2-3 times a class because they physically cannot sit still. Many underclassmen also face the trouble of adjusting to homework routines. This requires efficient time management skills, which were not as critical during virtual learning. Overall, there were significant decreases in maturity for the classes of ‘24 and ‘25. 

Another question we asked was did they see a greater lack of maturity in how students act socially or in the treatment of their education? Social interactions of students were more noticeable, which were stunted by Covid’s span. The two main tendencies observed in students were their struggles with self-awareness and social awareness. Since the last full year of school for many underclassmen was during middle school, the mindset of a cocky eighth-grader seemed to be their last point of reference. 

SSFS has taken steps to educate themselves with dedicated professional development in areas such as trauma-informed teaching strategies and social-emotional learning. Some teachers feel that there should be student trips before the start of classes to solidify social bonds. Alike to the pre-covid 5-day, all ninth graders were required to attend, school trips should involve a challenge, both emotional and physical to help students bond. SSFS urged Meeting for Worship with the whole upper school and recently had an informative lesson on expected behavior in order to strengthen Meeting for Worship. A teacher stated that faculty and staff should give space and understanding to students during MFW considering the situation. 

Teachers have also done their part in accommodating to student maturity levels, by offering alternate solutions to improve their learning process. A handful of teachers expressed that they have shifted their teaching techniques, by altering the discussion versus work time in class, lowering homework loads, and increasing communication with students. In these ways of offering support, teachers are working toward bridging the gap in student immaturity facing their time management and self-awareness. 

Overall, the maturity levels of underclassmen have decreased socially, emotionally, and academically due to covid and its effects. Teachers have worked extremely hard to accommodate this and change their teaching methods. Students are working very hard to improve their time management skills, social skills, and attention span.