Medina teacher shares student reflections on pandemic with Historical Society

Posted 7 February 2022 at 9:43 am

Press Release, Medina Central School

MEDINA – When schools shut down from the Covid-19 pandemic on March 13, 2020, it was expected to last two weeks.

Unfortunately two weeks turned into the rest of the school year. The loss of in-person teaching for those several months proved detrimental to not only the students, but to teachers as well.  Medina High School Social Studies teacher Todd Bensley said he and his fellow teachers struggled to find creative ways to teach students.

Provided photo: Todd Bensley, a Medina social studies teacher, speaks during a recent meeting of the Medina Historical Society. Bensley is Medina’s village historian.

“Following instructions from the New York State Education Department, the administrators of Medina Central Schools informed teachers that due to inequities in regards to internet access and requirements to follow the Individual Education Plan for special education students, we were not allowed to assign new material to students,” Bensley said. “We could only review what we have covered up to that point in the school year. It was hard to keep covering old material month after month.”

Since Bensley also serves as the Village of Medina Historian, he thought it would be important to document the experiences of students so that future generations could understand what life in the spring of 2020 was like.

“I sent out a request to all the teachers in the district to consider giving students an assignment documenting their experiences during the pandemic that would be presented to the Medina Historical Society,” he said. “Many teachers responded. Some assigned writing projects to students, while others recorded their own experiences.”

Many of the district’s students put a great amount of effort and enjoyed being able to document their experiences.

“For some, it was therapeutic to be able to express their thoughts and feelings,” Bensley said. “For others it gave them the opportunity to reflect upon what was truly important in life.  Still others were excited to be able to share their experiences with future generations.”

The writings were collected into a binder and presented to the Medina Historical Society at its January 2022 Show and Tell Night at the Lee-Whedon Memorial Library.

“The members of the Medina Historical Society were very excited to receive the book,” Bensley said. “Many commented on how important it was to document our experiences on paper, since few people are leaving written records that are not exclusively online.”