High Schoolers Struggle To Keep Up With Studies While Helping Out At Home


Kylie Mayo

Sophomore, Katheryn Rodriguez, from Valley High School works in class alongside her cousin Jesus Perez who is doing homework at the kitchen table.

Kylie Mayo, Co-Editor-in-Chief

As many school districts around Orange County start to see light at the end of the tunnel, many SAUSD students continue to face daily struggles as they continue virtual learning from home. 

For many high school students, not only do they have the responsibility of online learning but they also struggle to carry their household responsibilities of doing chores, helping out their families, and keeping up with their part-time jobs. 

Some students face more difficulties than others but in everyone’s experience, virtual learning has not been easy. The workload of more advanced classes can also contribute and add to the list of tasks to do.

Junior, Emily Hernandez, has persevered throughout the school year working hard as an Advanced Placement student. Although she does not have siblings, she helps her mom with babysitting which interferes with her focus in class since she has to help her cousins with virtual learning as well. 

“I have to help them log on to school and help them during school if they had any problems with learning the material or connection problems,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez also recently got a job at Chick-Fil-A to help her parents who have been affected by the pandemic. 

“It has been really challenging for me to do school while at home. I have a really large family where everyone is doing so many tasks at one time making it hard to concentrate,” added Hernandez.

She manages her time and stays organized through to-do lists and also makes sure to take breaks to reduce her stress by playing with her dog. Hernandez reminds herself of her goals to continue to stay motivated. 

For junior, Diego Jimenez, also an Advanced Placement student who takes dual enrollment classes as well, he feels that the workload given is appropriate but can feel suffocating from time to time.

“I have a lot of trouble focusing at home and especially in class, so that can make retaining all the information from school a little bit difficult. I also find it really draining to have to go from class to class all while being in front of the same screen for the day,” said Jimenez.

Jimenez does not have a job but has been applying for one. Besides doing household chores, another responsibility he takes on is helping out his ninth grade cousin through FaceTime.

For his cousin, “It’s a lot noisier and she has more responsibilities to help out her sisters, so whenever I can help her, I do.”

To keep up with his schedule, Jimenez plans out his day in the morning while eating breakfast and checks his learning platforms. He keeps himself motivated and relaxed by looking forward to his free time which he spends by watching movies. 

Students are constantly encouraged to improve their time management skills to keep up with their work and other responsibilities. But, teachers have been more sympathetic during these hard times and understand that everyone is going through something different. 

Choir and piano teacher, Jeanette McMahon, teaches five classes with an average of 45 students in each class. Although most days she works from her office at school, she does run into WiFi issues and a dog barking while working from home. 

McMahon finds it difficult to connect with students while teaching through a screen since she wants to be able to help them be successful with not only her class but all their other classes. 

“There are so many factors that I can’t control and I’ve felt a lot of times that my hands are tied,” said McMahon. 

McMahon tries to help by having an open policy that accepts late work and gives space for her students to get other assignments done to be successful in all classes. Reaching out and sending encouragement is one of the ways she tries to connect with students who are struggling. 

“I really appreciate connecting, it’s been really meaningful to me to just not give up hope and keep trying,” added McMahon.

She reassures that teachers recognize the struggles students face, however, feels powerless in trying to help more since there is only so much teachers can do.

Hernandez feels nervous about returning to campus but she feels that it would make learning a lot easier and less distracting.

McMahon on the other hand feels excited to be able to re-engage. 

She said, “I’m a total people person and so not being able to be with people, not being able to create music, has been really hard for me.”

Jimenez has a mutual feeling about returning to school. He also feels nervous because of how it will change his schedule, but thinks he will be excited to interact with people once the proper protocols are taken. 

There are many mixed emotions about the reopening of schools, but taking the right precautions to get back will help students ease their stress of responsibilities so they can focus on their education. 

In the meantime, as schools continue virtually for the rest of the school year, the strive to find balance while juggling chores and helping younger siblings with their learning needs continues.