Students’ Behavior Changes After Years of Pandemic Learning


By Jacky

A student on their phone using social media liking pictures.

Jacky Oasay, reporter

Entering the 2022-2023 school year after two years of social isolation has been tough for some McKinley High School Tigers. Teens have been forced behind a screen to be influenced by the media in various ways—such as the way one thinks, acts, and feels.
Despite controversial news and influence over the isolated years, many McKinley teens said they believe that social media has improved their character over the course of the pandemic, indicating that there is positive light shining from a blue phone screen.
Freshman Jewel Ann Sophia Cortez is one such student. Social media is able to spread the word on certain topics, especially those that have sparked up during the pandemic. For instance, the Black Lives Matter movement and awareness of the LGBTQ+ community. This generation of teenagers are thinking with a more open-mind and with more empathy.
“I can really say my morals and views on certain topics (people of color, lgbtq+ community, people with mental and physical disabilities, etc) have truly changed,” Cortez said. “I ended up becoming more empathetic during the pandemic due to the influence of social media platforms.”
However, some may say that this prolonged and forced exposure to social media and isolation has had a negative impact on students and their social skills.
Since part of a teacher’s job is to have students interact with each other and partake in group discussions, school events, etc., it has been increasingly more difficult for students to do so due to the pandemic.
“I do think that people talk less because of the pandemic,” ELA teacher Jordin Carmichael said. “It seems like it’s harder for people to talk in small groups or in front of the class if they don’t know people.”
Carmichael has also noticed a very notable difference between students online and in person. Those who may have been talkative online are most likely to be quiet in person. This may be due to the overuse of texting and lack of social interaction over the last two years, Carmichael said.
“I noticed when we were online for a while, sometimes there would be people who would talk a lot online like typing in the chat on WebEx, and then when they came to school, they were really quiet,” Carmichael said.
However, as this school year has been welcoming back normality and tradition, students are slowly repairing their social skills.
A prime example Carmichael noticed was during the first full in-person freshman orientation since the pandemic, as new ninth graders were forced to work together in groups for various outdoor activities.
“It seems like it’s already getting better this year than it was the past few years,” Carmichael said.