TANAPAG Middle School conducted a two-day social-emotional learning development workshop to help its students cope with the stress and anxieties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
101 sixth-graders participated on Day 1 while 108 seventh-graders showed up for Day 2 of the workshop which was held Thursday and Friday in the Hyatt Regency Saipan ballroom.
TMS classroom teacher Sheena Saures said “students went through a lot of changes this school year — we started out with remote learning and then there was blended learning. So we wanted a fun way for the school kids to end [their school year],” she said.
During the workshop, there were eight stations with different presenters.
Catherine Perry conducted a tai-chi session while Rep. Sheila Babauta taught students how to speak in front of a crowd. Other presenters, including Tanapag Middle School principal Hilda Rios, shared coping strategies.
After the separate sessions, the students gathered for a team-building activity.
Saures said she saw in her own classroom how students “really needed help to cope with their anxieties.”
She said during school year 2020-2021, it took a while before the students were allowed to return to campus for a limited period of face-to-face learning.
“What we observed when they were back in the classroom was that they did not socialize as much as they used to,” she added.
Previously, a lot of students liked to talk to each other even during class, she said.
“But this school year, it suddenly was not an issue. Most of the students would not socialize with each other; they just sat outside the classroom quietly waiting for their teachers.
“We see that all around the campus. And we, the teachers, were like, ‘Hey, guys, are you not going to talk to each other?’ ”
Saures said the students were affected by the big changes that occurred in the school system due to the restrictions implemented in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“That is human nature. When a lot of changes occur, they stress us and we tend to be anxious,” she added.
During the workshop, she said, “the students were talking to each other again — they loved it.”
Saures said Tanapag Middle School is thankful to the presenters for making the workshop happen.