What Will Students Write About the Pandemic?

by Jeff Camp | March 16, 2020 | 1 Comment
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Pandemic Essay Prompts

In future years, students will be asked to look back on the Pandemic and write about it, perhaps for a college application essay.

Why wait? Imagine that you are a student living in the future, perhaps a few years from now. How might you answer questions like the ones below?

  • How did you personally demonstrate leadership during the Pandemic?
  • How did students in your school community help save lives? What should have happened that didn't?
  • If you could go back in time to deliver one message to one person, who would it be and exactly what would you tell them?
  • In what ways have your classes online been better than in person? In what ways have they been worse?
  • Do you think schools will go back to the old ways? Why or why not?
  • What lessons do you think future students and teachers should learn from the Pandemic?
  • How could artists have contributed more powerfully to unity, and what stopped them?
  • What was the virus's weakness, and how did the virologists find it?
  • How did the Pandemic change American cultures?

Staying Relevant

Today's students, with help from their teachers, would benefit from thinking about these questions, and forming their own.

School cannot afford to be boring — especially now.

As classes shift online, some teachers may be tempted to ask students to stay focused on their textbook, as if nothing has changed. This would be an error. It would be awful for teachers to simply step to the digital lectern and drone on like Cuthbert Binns, the Hogwarts ghost professor so utterly boring that he died while lecturing — and failed to notice.

We hope teachers are learning about ways to keep classes interesting online, and thinking creatively about how to connect their lessons to what is happening now.

School cannot afford to be boring — especially now. Questions like those above, taken seriously, can serve as a bridge to serious academic work. They can be a starting place for creative writing assignments, historical research, scientific inquiry and who knows what else. They may also help students remember why they are deciding for themselves to put up with precautions that already may feel onerous.

Some students, creatively inspired, will produce amazing work in the coming months. Some of that work will be of lasting importance. It might just change the world.

Stay safe, everybody. Wash your hands.

Questions & Comments

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Lucinda March 21, 2020 at 12:59 am
These are great questions to ask our own children who are currently home and may feel helpless. My 9 year old son was worried that we would become homeless because both my husband and myself are out of work for who knows how long. I had to reassure him that we would be fine and staying home was the best way for our family to stay healthy. After dinner, we try to play a board game or watch a family movie so that we can take our minds off the current news. Then, I end the night by tucking them in and reading to my boys, something they still look forward to regardless of what is happening outside our home.
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