As a teacher for 25 years, I am always amazed by the things I have learnt from the students I interact with. If we stop and really listen to our boys, they not only teach us something new, but they give us a perspective on their world which can be truly inspiring. Here are a few of their stories:
Lock down has been challenging and rewarding for myself, I feel like from a school perspective I have thrived in lock down as I am able to stay focused in class and utilise my spare time to my advantage to study. On the other hand, the social aspect of lock down has been difficult as it has reduced the amount of time I can spend with mates and minimised the joys of being at Whitefriars in a community that is so connected. Although lockdown has had its up and downs, I have taken every challenge that lock down has presented me and tried to use it to my advantage which has helped my mindset grow and build upon my resilience. One of the methods I use to stay motivated and engaged is by waking up every morning and either going on a run, walk or completing meditation as this can wake me up and prepare me for the day ahead. Furthermore, I have tried to connect with my friends everyday this may be by meeting up with them in person or just talking on the phone. Ultimately, I believe it comes down to the mindset that you approach the trials and tribulations of lock down with, and my one piece of advice to anyone who may be struggling would be whenever you are confronted with a challenge use it in a manner that will make you grow and become stronger.
Considering the extended lockdown, many have given up hope, others continue to leak motivation every passing day. However, I would like to think of this extended lockdown as an “OPPORTUNITY” to improve.
Now, I know I am quite known for setting unrealistic, ambitious goals, and adopting cliché ideals of the “work every waking hour” kind, but however trust me that this is a true opportunity for us all to get into the rhythm of lockdown learning. To understand why we would need to understand exactly what makes online learning so much worse than school in person, at school we would usually have the physical structures of our teachers, peers and specific periods and classrooms to tell ourselves that it is time to work. At home, all this physical structure suddenly disappears there is no physical change, whether you are doing maths, enjoying recess, playing some games or doing English. There is no strict time to study like the study hall and everything seems to all blend together. This coupled with a lack of familiarity with home learning allowed most of us to instead lose motivation in classes and schoolwork.
To generate structure within lockdown learning, a great way is to join certain study groups, hop on study calls, and plan out your day with blocks of work, and blocks of rest. The hardest part of this process is starting it, once you get into a rhythm, you begin to understand and appreciate the specific techniques and strategies specialised to making the most of your time in lockdown. I cannot provide a foolproof plan as everyone is different, but every extra day of extended lockdown allows us to learn new things about how we operate at home, what works, what doesn’t, then change your strategies and try again tomorrow. Optimism is crucial in these rapid iterations, if anything goes wrong treat it as an opportunity to improve, to take note and to get it sorted so it never happens again. Before you know it, you would begin to have a comprehensive guide for getting the most out of lockdown learning.
Being in Year 12 during a pandemic has come with its challenges in terms of emotional highs and lows. This year everything has come down to motivation. Motivation to do my best and motivation to prepare myself for the next step in my education.
Remaining positive during this time has been crucial in terms of keeping on top of work expectations. What I reflect on most and to help me remain positive are the friends that have reached out to me or those I have connected with and had a chat to stay in touch during this lockdown period. Besides this, even just putting some headphones on and putting my head down to work has improved my mood and productivity when my mood has needed lifting.
Being the Wellbeing Captain this year, has opened my eyes further to the challenges people are faced with during lockdowns. I strongly believe having something to reward yourself with or something to look forward to helping myself and others to work better.
I am not going to beat around the bush. Lockdown is hard. I think the repeat lockdowns have made it harder. It’s also my last year at Whitefriars and I am disappointed that I we have had to spend so much time away from it. But upon reflection, things could be much worse. I always try to look at all the positives in my life. I have more time to spend with my family, Saturday night movies are a staple. The extra time at home also means we can spend more time in the kitchen cooking foods that we all enjoy. I think it is vital to have time away from the computer and house and the only way I can routinely do that is by going for a run or ride. Keeping myself fit and getting some fresh air has been great to stay motivated and feel energetic. Finally, I place a lot of importance on the people around me who constantly stay in contact with me and help to support each other. Using tools such as Zoom to continue the face-to-face connection, albeit from a distance. Friends, families, teachers, and peers looking out for one another as we all share a common uphill battle. I think the Whitefriars community has been incredibly resilient, and I urge everyone to continue to check on the people around them as everyone’s experience is vastly different. Remain hopeful and we will get through this time of hardship together.
Our wellbeing partner, The Resilience Project, hit the mainstream media when founder, Hugh van Cuylenburg, spoke on the television show, ‘The Project’. He gave some salient tips about how the develop resilience in these difficult times and maintain positive mental health.
Take care and stay safe.
Deputy Principal – Students