Last year of elementary and first year of middle school during a pandemic


Brianna Rodriguez, my 12 year old sister, is now going into to 7th grade. She culminated from 5th grade and started middle school during the pandemic, all through online school.

At the end of 5th grade in the beginning of the pandemic, every morning at around 9 AM she would wake up and get ready for her zoom classes. Her culmination was around the corner and nothing seemed to change. Normally, one would expect to be ecstatic for culmination day, but considering that she would culminate at home and through a zoom call, she was not excited. To her it would just seem like any other zoom class, except she would just wear a bit more formal clothing. She culminated and was a tad bit more eager to start middle school, since she would be attending with me.

Then came the news. We would be doing online school, again. She was fine with it though, because this meant that she wouldn’t have to see or worry about anyone other than me. She would not be attending in-person school anytime soon it seemed. She did meet new people though, just through a screen. It wasn’t too different from 5th grade, it was online school, but this time the assignments and homework were more difficult than those given in 5th grade, and she started school a lot earlier. I decided to interview her to get a bit more information, or insight, about what it was like and what she felt during these events.



Katherine Rodriguez: My name is Katherine Rodriguez. I am 13 years old. Today is June 2nd, and I’m speaking with Brianna Rodriguez, who is my little sister. We are recording this interview in Los Angeles, California. Alright, how did you feel as you were starting 5th grade?
Brianna Rodriguez: When I was starting 5th grade, I was excited because that just meant I was close to ending elementary school, and I would start middle school with you.
KR: What were some expectations for 5th grade?
BR: Since I was going to have the same teacher as I did in 4th grade, I wasn’t expecting much except for more work and more stress since it would be our last year of elementary.
KR: Did you attend 5th grade in person, or did you start attending it during online school?
BR: I had already began school in person, but it was towards the end of the second semester when I started attending online classes.
KR: How were your online classes during 5th grade?
BR: My online classes during 5th grade weren’t any different than how it was in person because we were doing the same things, the only difference was that there was not much work to do so it wasn’t as stressful as I thought it was going to be.
KR: How were you feeling during these classes?
BR: Well, I wasn’t as stressed anymore, so I was kinda happy.
KR: Since you were culminating from 5th grade through a zoom call, what did you feel as it was happening?
BR: Um, when I thought of culminating, I thought of how your culmination was, so I felt kinda sad that I wasn’t culminating like that, but I was looking forward to our father coming by and dropping off my culmination gift.
KR: Alright, now for questions on middle school. How did you feel as you were starting middle school?
BR: I felt kind of stressed. It was stressing to me because I wasn’t used to having a lot of classes, I was used to having only one class. Though I did get the hang of it soon.
KR: What were you expecting for middle school?
BR: Um, since I didn’t know that I was going to be starting it on online classes, I was expecting it to be more fun.
KR: What are some differences?
BR: Some differences were that I was obviously expecting to start middle school in person, but then got completely bummed when I started it through online classes.
KR: What were some similarities?
BR: Some similarities were that I was expecting to make some friends, and I did make one, and they made online school fun since I had them in most of my classes. 
KR: How did you feel about your classes?
BR: I felt that my classes were fun most of the time, because I had a friend in most of them and they made me happy.
KR: Were they [classes] difficult?
BR: Yes, some of the assignments they gave out were kind of hard.
KR: Okay, were there any teachers who had a particular – um particularly strong influence on your life? In general I mean, doesn’t matter if they were from 5th or 6th grade.
BR: Um not that I can remember.
KR: Alright, what is something you wish you knew before you started middle school?
BR: Something I wish I knew was that, what your elementary teachers tell you about your middle school teachers will not always be accurate. This made a little bit afraid to ask for help from my middle school teachers because my elementary teachers, most of them, always told me that they wouldn’t baby me, as in, wouldn’t really accept it when students asked for help.
KR: That’s kinda sad actually, but anyways, what is something you would like to say to any future 6th graders, or students in general?
BR: Uh I would tell them that asking for help from a teacher is highly recommended because many teachers are more than happy to help you…and yeah.
KR: Right, well that’ll be the end of our interview. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to let me interview you Brianna, it makes me happy to know that I can count on you for these matters, and it saddens me that your 5th grade teacher had said these things, I never would have known. I’m sad that my 5th grade teacher from that school retired because she was great and actually encouraged me to reach out for help from my middle school teachers, that would have been much much better advice given to you as a student.
BR: I’m glad your teacher had encouraged you, I am thankful though for my 5th grade teacher since she taught me many things, like easier ways to learn things and how to look at them. I’m glad that you interviewed me, it’s my pleasure, you don’t have to thank me because it’s actually refreshing to know that another student may use this interview as a guide, kind of, and a motivator to um y’know, keep them going.
KR: Alright, well that’s it, bye guys!
BR: Bye! Have a wonderful day.