Teacher and student emotional and mental health needs must be addressed before academic gaps, experts say
At the start of the school year last August, I spent several days visiting a first-grade classroom in Austin, Texas, to see how the coronavirus pandemic was impacting teaching and learning after nearly two years of disruption. The academic impact was exactly what experts predicted: students were all over the map in their reading abilities. But I was struck by some less widely reported trends their teacher shared with me, like the pandemic’s impact on non-academic skills, including social-emotional, fine and gross motor skills. Many students were struggling with things like being able to use scissors, work independently and resolve conflicts.