Holding Onto Motivation in the Virtual Classroom

As the difficulties of online schools become more clear, students must find ways to stay motivated online.


Troy Branson

While leaning on my bed in my pajamas, I am able to take a picture of my entire work space for the next five hours. Behind my dry erase board, I can hear my sister’s ongoing zoom call.

I start every morning struggling to break free of my cocoon. I escape in hopes of keeping up with the rest of the swarm, but my right wing is injured. With each flutter my fear of falling behind increases. I continue to flutter my wings despite my disparity, and I find that I am not alone. As time goes on, my injured swarm of butterflies grows larger without a clear resolution on the horizon. From these observations, I have found that I am not the only student struggling to hold onto my motivation for school because students within our county and around the nation are having to revert to online school for the safety of their peers and teachers. As the failures of remote learning become clearer and the hope of returning to school lessens, many students are struggling with adjusting to being home most of the day, and their motivation is deteriorating 

Huge smiles and joyful students filled the school last school year during spirit week. This picture was taken during a more time when a pandemic did not require the use of masks and social distancing. Participating in things such as spirit week helped students stay engaged and motivated toward school.

One of the most motivating factors about school is the social aspect. Not only are people able to make friend ships that last a lifetime, but they are also able to create relationships with teachers and faculty that will help them not only in college, but also their future careers. The friendships I have made with my classmates, and the bonds I have created with my teachers helps me engage better in class. Jillian Cooke, a sophomore at Lafayette High school, stated that, “Having my friends and peers around me helps me strive more in school because I can connect with others and not feel so alone.” I think that many of us can agree that being isolated in our rooms with a laptop for the entirety of a school day can feel lonely. We open our laptops to the frowning faces of our peers as they feel the effects of isolation as well. Efforts made by teachers such as break out rooms are kind attempts to make students feel less alone and more engaged in the virtual classroom. Unfortunately, they can often feel awkward and unproductive. I do not put the blame of awkward breakout rooms on teachers but rather because we learned in person for the last 10-13 years so students are still adapting to the virtual setting. Connor Huckins, a senior at Lafayette High School, has negative emotions that I believe many seniors are feeling. He said, “Online school has been hard for me due to the fact that every aspect of school that I liked, being with friends and being able to have teachers in person, has been taken away from me and it makes me feel unmotivated to complete my senior year. I want to just re-class next year so I can feel ready for college.” I believe Connor shared a daunting reality for many seniors. We have a fear of being unprepared for college because of our lack of motivation which has resulted in grades falling for some, and others not obtaining as much information from classes as they usually would.  

Staying motivated and on top of assignments during virtual school is increasingly difficult. To combat this I have a dry erase board that I use to list my assignments that I need to complete, and post-it notes with non-school related errands.

The pandemic has asserted dominance over our normal way of life and virtual school is one of many examples. Education is crucial to the lives of people everywhere and to be a good student you must find ways to stay motivated. Unfortunately, online school has stripped motivation from many students. It is hard to balance the value of an in-person education and risking the lives of teachers and students who are at risk for harmful side effects and/or death from COVID-19. With hopes of a vaccine possibly coming out soon, and society finding more and more ways to safely live and function within this global pandemic; there is hope that we will return to school sooner than later. Until then students must find ways to stay motivated and get their work in. Teachers have been more forgiving and understanding than ever, so do not be afraid to reach out to your teachers, they are not having a blast with virtual school either.  It is important to keep your head up and try to find ways to stay engaged and motivated with online school until it is safe to return.