School is my new happy place

Students are back in classrooms this week as part of a managed return to schools.

14 August 2020
A girl standing in front of a shrub.
Image: Ivy ... likes seeing friends face to face rather than on FaceTime.

We asked our students how they found going back to school after weeks of learning from home.

Ivy, Year 6, Wisemans Ferry Public School

Going back to school was so exciting, it was like the first day of school all over again. I love being able to see my friends face to face and not on FaceTime. I like being back at school because I can focus more, but I do miss listening to Meghan Trainor while doing my work.

I don’t miss fighting with my sister. But I do miss the sleep in. I hope the curve does not go back up now that they have relaxed the laws.

It is kind of hard with all of the rules such as social distancing, washing hands and not touching your face. In the classroom, we all have our own desk and stationary and if we need to ask a question or need help we don’t get out of our seat, we put our hand up and wait for the teacher.

We each have to wash our hands after the bell and make sure that we use hand sanitiser. Our teachers remind us about the importance of good hygiene and health each day. I am really sad that I can’t hug my friends, but I am still glad to be back at school.

School is a much better place because you can play on a team instead of by yourself. I think now that I have been at home for a while school is my new happy place.

A boy standing outside a classroom.
Image: Oliver ... made friends quickly at his new school.

Oliver, Year 4, Canley Vale Public School

[Oliver moved to his new school just last week and met his classmates for the first time on Tuesday.]

I felt really nervous because it was the first time that I’ve seen the students in my new class. I really liked that I could chat to the kids in my new class online before meeting them.

I made friends quickly and I liked being at school instead of at home. I really wanted to meet my new friends.

The school laptop wouldn’t work because the battery was low and it couldn’t connect to the WiFi. Eventually the technology support person was able to help me, though.

I like being at school because it’s boring at home and I can’t do much.

A girl standing against a grey background.
Image: Grace ... the pandemic is an “intense life experience”.

Grace, Year 9, Menindee Central School

I can’t believe how quickly life changes. Just several weeks ago we were living a normal life, going to school, hanging out with friends and were able to socialise and move freely.

It still amazes me that shops that were once overflowing with customers are now empty and desperate for business. Although this is a terribly tough time I feel as though there is an end to this pandemic in sight, with restrictions slowly easing and supplies restocking.

Although isolation was tough and my siblings drove me insane, I enjoyed having time to prioritise my school work and my personal wellbeing.

I returned to school and it wasn’t the same warm, bubbly place that I knew as Menindee Central School. At first it was quite difficult to concentrate on my school work with nothing but silence in the air, but eventually the circumstances all became a reality for me.

Now that some of my closest friends are returning to school it is beginning to feel like my original learning environment is coming together. It’s easy to say that this pandemic is an intense life experience and I would definitely prefer if it could all go back to how life once was.

A girl in sportswear standing against a brick background.
Image: Jo ... looking forward to going back to normal.

Jo, Year 7, South Sydney High School

It was amazing getting off that bus, running in and seeing all my friends. Wait they were not there. I caught the early bus so it wasn't crowded, and I could stay safe. As kids started coming in off the later bus, I saw one friend by one, it was the best sight.

Now as we all know we haven’t been at school and it is now getting very cold, so I don't have a winter uniform and my legs were purple and we couldn't huddle up because we were not allowed to, we had to be arm’s length apart. Not one of us liked it but we had to deal with it.

As we caught up and started chatting the bell went off. Out came the deputy principal. For maybe two hours we were outside talking about the rules and getting split up into groups. My group was sent to the hall where there was hand sanitiser at the door and there were many desks all spaced out.

Throughout the day I didn’t get as much done as I would usually since the working environment is very unusual for me. I enjoyed being in class again, but it wasn’t my class, it was over 40 kids in the hall all spaced out.

The experience was very odd but amazing seeing everyone. I am definitely not used to the new environment but as time goes on I will get more used to it and soon hopefully it will be back to normal.

A boy sitting in a classroom.
Image: Adrian ... "I have learnt a lot about patience and perseverance."

Adrian, Year 8, Ulladulla High School

What a transition. Learning from home has been a big change. You don’t get to see your friends face to face and see your teachers in real life. Online learning is very different and new compared to what normal life used to be.

Through these challenges, there are some positives like getting to see my cat throughout the day and being able to have more time to work on assignments. I feel like I am becoming more resilient through this tough time as I must work harder to accomplish things. As they say, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

The transition has been easier for me being a part of Aurora College and I am used to working online.

I must thank the wonderful teachers who have put in a lot of effort into making the online learning work.

We are lucky to be in Australia. Through this difficult time, students in Third World countries wouldn’t be able to be working from home. For this, I am very grateful.

Today was my first day back at school. I slept in but managed to arrive just in time. My friends still liked me, my teachers still remembered me and I felt warm being back in a classroom. It felt weird but nice talking to my friends face to face as most of my meet-ups had been online.

Throughout this rollercoaster I have learnt a lot about patience and perseverance.

A young lady in a classroom using a laptop.
Image: Roberta ... has had more time to relax and study.

Roberta, Year 12, Campbell House

Due to all the sudden changes happening around the world, isolation has been a big part of all our daily lives. For me, it hasn’t been too much of a struggle considering I have been kept busy with school work as well as working with my parents after hours. I have had more time to relax since I don’t have to worry about getting ready to go anywhere.

When I returned to school, nothing felt that much different. I settled into the class environment as I normally would as if nothing had changed. The only difference was instead of doing work on paper or rotating classrooms, we stayed in the same classroom and did our work online as we would at home.

The best thing about returning to school was seeing how excited the staff were when I arrived. Saying hi to them and talking about what we’ve been up to was refreshing.

  • Student voices
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