In case you’re new or a visitor to the site, we here at AAT value the stories, experiences, and perspectives of all of our neighbors! Your status, job title, social position, or even age doesn’t matter to us. Everyone has a story, and everyone’s point of view has value. This is why we invited this week’s guest to join us. We wanted to give someone with a very particular perspective a chance to have the floor on a topic that has led to several loud conversations-distance learning.
This week, we’re joined by Josalynne Mosley. Josalynne is an eighteen-year-old senior at Elko High School. Josalynne has stayed very active in her high school career as she has been involved with activities such as speech and debate, student council, and the high school radio sports show, War Whoops.
Josalynne has lived in Elko her entire life, so she seemed like a perfect choice when it came to hearing from a local student about their personal experiences with distance learning. Many adults on different sides have had many conversations amongst themselves over the last few months about this subject. Still, Josalynne agreed to lend her voice to their interview because…
“The students need to be heard, and I’m sick of only hearing from the parents, teachers, and school district!”
Our conversation with Josalynne does get honest and real, but that’s okay! This is her story, and these are her experiences. We need to hear them just as much as anyone else’s.
Thank you so much for joining us this week. Josalynne. Before we talk about what 2020 has been like for you as a student, let’s take it back to your junior year in 2019. How much different was last year for you in school?
“If I could take my senior year and take it back into my junior year, I probably would. My junior year was the best time of high school for me, so far! I had a lot of teachers that were hands-on with me, especially in math. I struggle a lot in math, but my teacher at the time, Ms. Spealman, would sit down with me and show me everything by hand. She did this so I could gain a visual perspective because I’m a visual learner.
“It was nice having the high school experience. High school isn’t just the work you put into it; it’s the experiences, memories, and football games! It was amazing! I miss the hands-on work. I miss the teachers. And I miss being able to feel like a student!”
Well, now let’s get into it. Distance learning in 2020, what has this school year been like for you so far?
“I won’t sugarcoat it; it has been the hardest time of my life, so far. Having to get up and sit in front of a computer for hours at a time is terrible. Not only that, I’m not getting the stimulation that I would at school, so I’m constantly getting sidetracked, I’m always tired, and I’m staying up a lot later. With not really having any other students there with me to talk to or work with, I feel really isolated.
“I feel frustrated when it comes to trying to turn in assignments, especially on google forms. Sometimes, it won’t go through, and when I go to turn it in again, I have to start over and lose interest in it because I feel stuck in a cycle of failure. In school, I can control paper, but I cannot control technology. So, I feel as if I have no control as a student besides just assignments.
“The stress is there. I need to make sure I’m still on track to graduate, even though I’m doing all of my work online, which I have never done before. That pressure is differently pushing down on me right now. I’m constantly having mental breakdowns because it’s hard keeping up on a computer, and communication can be difficult. So, I’m really feeling lost and not listened to at the moment. I’m stressing about graduating this year, which leads to crying, loss of appetite, and me just staring at my computer with the biggest headaches of my life.”
As a senior, how do you feel about the fact that this time next year, you will be out of high school and into a post-2020 reality (whatever that looks like)?
“It’s terrifying! I live in a small town that can be very sheltered from the horrors out there, and I’m going to jump into a world where nobody really knows what’s going to be out there! I just see terrible things all the time, and in due time, I’m going to have to be in that.”
What do the adults in our community need to hear, right? As a student, what do you wish many of them would understand?
“The teachers are going through a hard time, and the parents may be going through an even harder time, trying to balance work and their kids. But I feel like the biggest thing right now is that the community needs to understand the mental health aspect in all of this. Teachers have to sit in front of screens for hours while listening to people scream at them. The school district needs to look at the community, not from a political point, but a moral point. I believe the parents need to stop and talk to their kids about how they are truly doing. Let them scream and cry if they need it. No matter what grade your child is in, parents need to sit down and actually hear them. This is just as hard for them as it is you.
“You just need to spectate and understand what’s going on; we’re the ones living this out. Our mental health is what’s most viable at the moment. We’re still developing. And yes, I grew up in a generation with technology, but most of the time, I want to throw my computer against the wall because I’m sick of it. I want everyone to understand that our mental health is more important than our grades right now. If we’re not healthy and happy, then we’re not even going to have the courage to finish the school work that we’re dreading every day! Everyone needs to stop fighting and focus on the children that are being affected because they’re the ones who are going to need to graduate or go on to the next grade. We need people who are willing to see this from our view, not just their view, now.”
That’s great, Josalynne. Is there anything else?
“This isn’t about the adults. This is about the children. This isn’t about a school district. This is about children. These children may be suffering just like you; only they’re most likely doing it in silence. It would help if you heard us before you hear each other.
“Your children are more important than the district.”
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Article’s Featured Photo Credit: Cripps Photography
Until next time, we’ll see you around, Elko!
Great interview. Honest answers to a problem that isn’t going away. Josalynne sees the problem for what it really is. This is about the mental health of the children. They need regular school with interactions with their teachers and friends. They are feeling isolated and alone. It is sad what we are doing to them in the name of safety or concern for their well being. Can’t imagine a senior going through this, there is so much at stake for them.