Virtual School From An Eight Year Old’s Point Of View 

Wake up at 8:15. Put on a “nice” sweatshirt, and have something for breakfast before joining a Google Meet at 8:30.” A typical morning for eight year old Anthony Napoli.

We have all struggled since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020; many people around the world had to adapt to a new environment to complete their everyday tasks. But for Anthony, currently a fourth grader at Forest Avenue School, it was a drastic change as his education depended on technology. 

Anthony was only in second grade when the pandemic began. At just seven years old, he made an adjustment to homeschooling using a device he barely knew how to use. 

“I left a lot of Meets frustrated and upset because I just didn’t know what was going on,”Ant laughed as he knew he was not supposed to leave Meets unless he was dismissed by a teacher. It was almost as if he was breaking a rule. He just didn’t want his classmates or teacher to see him upset, he explained. Since he was so young, a long attention span was not something he would have. 

“My family tried teaching me Mandarin which was just as bad as sitting through the class,” he said,  showing his funny side, he continued to describe virtual school. Throughout the year Anthony’s family tried their best to help him with any assignment he struggled with.

 “My sister helped me with cursive, my grandma helped me with art projects since she was an art teacher, and my dad put together snacks for us.” They were able to make learning fun, especially my dad, Anthony explained. Anthony was lucky enough to have his parents working from home to assist him, but some of his friends weren’t so lucky as their parents still had to go into work every day. His friends along with other children of working parents were left with babysitters for the day, who simply can’t do something the way mom would. 

Throughout the pandemic Anthony was able to maintain friendships at such a young age because of his exposure to technology. Between Zooms, Xbox parties, and Hangouts outside he was able to socialize with his friends. One of the things he had missed most about in-person school was seeing his friends during lunch and recess to unwind with one another before finishing off the rest of the school day. When virtual, Anthony would play with his dog Bruno in the backyard as his “recess” before going back to his room to join another meet.

“We figured out how to play hangman over zoom with our whiteboards from math class.” Creatively, Anthony proceeded with the games played over the phone with his friends. It was weird seeing his friends for the first time in person he explained, as he was unsure of how to act with them. At such a young age he struggled readapting to social environments as they were put on hold for almost a year. 

Now that Anthony is back in school and seeing his friends everyday his parents see a change in his behavior as well.  They explained with gratitude that he isn’t as irritable or cranky as he was back in 2020 when he admitted to breaking his punching bag out of frustration. Since the pandemic, Anthony does not remember school before he went virtual as he really only made it through kindergarten and first grade before “going to school” meant opening your computer that day. He’s made great progress socially and academically now that Anthony is back in school and living somewhat of a “normal” life again.