Exasperated by the health measures put in place, a group of high school students and their French teacher decided to send an open letter to the Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge.
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“Never in our conversations have my students objected to the fact that we had to protect ourselves from COVID”, clarified their teacher, Marie-Luce Higgins. She believes that several health measures jeopardize academic success. For example, to no longer have access to a failed material review.
“I’ve seen students panic because: ‘Madam, we haven’t even passed our secondary 2, then I will have to pass my secondary 3! Students who are forced to do strong chemistry in secondary 5 because their bubble class follows strong chemistry. So, so do you! It’s very demotivating “
“We cannot leave school at all. At the end of the summer, Mr. Roberge, we couldn’t wait to go back to school to see our friends in person and not through our screens. Mr. Roberge, come spend a day in your bubbles. You will see ”, we can read in the letter.
“If we really listened to them, that’s not what we would have put in place. We would not have brought in all the students at the same time, 1300 students in a too small school, ”adds the teacher.
Marie-Luce Higgins and her students do not only have problems to deplore. They are also several possible solutions to be proposed to Minister Roberge.
“The educational camps he was talking about in June, two weeks before the end of the year, might be a good option right now. “
“A week of spring break in the fall, but also catch-ups at the same time, that could be useful and at the same time, I think that it can be a way of limiting contact”, for her part proposed a fourth year secondary student.
Until then, the challenge for teachers to keep students motivated is great. “Right now, it’s hard to get them to like learning because everything that will be hooked up before is gradually disappearing.”
The minister’s office was told that Jean-François Roberge was made aware of this initiative, that meetings with young people are planned soon to find out their opinion, but that the priority remains first and foremost to keep the schools open.
Here is the content of the letter :
Jean-François, you claim that things are going well in the schools. That your concept of “bubble” is effective. What is important is the socialization of students and their education, that is why we can no longer see anyone. However, have you moved to schools, since you no longer work there, to live them, your bubbles? Have you consulted teachers or, better yet, teenagers, in order to better understand what your bubbles make them experience, both socially and academically? No, eh? You do not consult the school community much before saying that everything is fine, it is an undeniable fact. So I did it for you, since I know you are overwhelmed: I took the time to give voice to those who experience them, your bubbles. Here are the words that my 60 or so third secondary students in Quebec City wanted to tell you:
“Mr. Roberge (they are more polite than me, my students …) first of all, did you know that to avoid bursting our bubbles, several students who have not passed a basic subject in a level n now have more access to the recovery of this failed material? They are now obliged to follow the higher level course without having obtained the skills of the previous year. You may think that these students are happy to have obtained this “favor”, but think again. On the contrary, they are aware of the scale of the challenge before them, they are even more afraid of failing and, sometimes even, they give up. Already. As the year has only just begun.
Your bubble concept is also detrimental to our motivation. Sometimes we have to spend the whole day, including our lunch and our breaks, with the same people. Our socialization, as you say, is quite limited. In addition, some students do not even have the opportunity to go outside during breaks. A small classroom is not a gymnasium, Mr. Roberge: it becomes complicated to spend our energy which accumulates during the day and ends up preventing us from concentrating. And you should see the state of our classes, at the end of the day, with our 30 boxes as boxes, scattered for lack of space to store them …
Also, did you know that because of your bubbles, a large number of students have been given options? You know, those classes that kept us motivated, those classes that we could choose? For many, we no longer have access to it. Some people make music when they chose physical education while others will do strong chemistry against their will. And these are just a few examples. You know, without our options, without extracurriculars and without sports, school doesn’t look like it used to be. No, things are not going so well in our schools and our motivation is drastically affected.
Finally, since very often, depending on our school level or the weather outside, we cannot leave school at all, or even class, we have to wear the mask from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. IT’S LONG!!! The demotivation is great since we are in the red zone.
At the end of the summer, Mr. Roberge, we couldn’t wait to go back to school to see our friends in person and not through our screens. Today, however, we wonder what was ultimately best. Are all of these measures worth it? Looking at the number of cases in our school, are they really effective? What is certain is that they are binding. Excessively restrictive. They play on our academic success and our motivation. The pleasure we had in coming to school – already so slight for some – is diminishing day by day. Mr. Roberge, come spend a day in your bubbles, you will see. ”
I have nothing to add. That this photo of loose sheets full of their words spitting out through their pencil and their mask because we no longer have computers available in class, they are all distributed to the retired groups …
Thank you for the attention you will pay, Jean-François, to my teenagers and their words which, my bubbles and I hope, will reach you.