One Year 11 Student’s Account of Learning Remotely
‘If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need’ – Cicero
Everybody seems to be quoting everybody recently, but this quote, despite being said two thousand years ago by the Roman politician Cicero, particularly stood out to me lately. It seems to reflect all our current struggles in lockdown in the fact that our leisure lives have been disrupted since many of us have limited access to green spaces, and in the fact that our learning lives have been changed by our libraries and our school having to move online. I think it is fair to say therefore that during lockdown, few of us really have everything we need- especially when it comes to our learning.
During this absence from school, I know for instance that I am especially missing class discussions and speaking face to face with my friends which just can’t be done when we are all in our own homes learning independently. It is also more difficult to gain motivation to work sometimes when we are not surrounded by the learning environment that is our school, and each day often seems to be quite monotonous as we learn remotely at home. The lockdown also presents a huge challenge to our teachers who have to make us understand difficult concepts without being there in person to explain them to us. This often means that it takes us longer to complete work.
Having said all this, it does not mean that we cannot make the most of challenging times. Firstly, the ease and efficiency of all the school’s online resources during this time (with work put on Show My Homework daily, assemblies & extra resources constantly emailed to us and lessons going on for some year groups on Teams) is thanks, in no small part, to the hard work and effort of all the teaching and support staff who, as ever, are looking out for students and keeping things ticking over underneath, despite the difficult circumstances. A huge thank you to all of them!
Also with more time on my hands (especially after the cancellation of this year’s GCSEs), I have been able to engage with extra opportunities that different organisations have made available for free during this time. For example, with my family I have been watching lots of theatre productions online (I would really recommend the free weekly National Theatre productions on their Youtube channel) Also I have been doing a few online courses on topics as diverse as Postmodernism and Archaeoastronomy (how ancient cultures studied the sky) and have also enrolled on a course about Creative Problem solving, recommended by the school. These resources have helped me to look at the world with empathy and from different perspectives- something that I think will be an impact of living through this pandemic more generally.
After studying, I usually go outside and play football with my sister who has been beating me a lot recently!
I have also had drum and saxophone lessons on zoom and have learnt some new songs during this time such as the theme from Starsky & Hutch (which my mum is super thrilled to be hearing again after all the years!). I had also started doing Joe Wicks’ Youtube PE classes at the start of the lockdown. I was really motivated at first, but as the weeks have gone on I’ve swapped the workout time for extra hours in bed…!
But this is also a difficult time because education brings everybody together at school and gives us all good chances and opportunities to do well. This sense of community where everybody looks out for and helps one another is lost when we are all separate and in different situations at home (Cicero was a very lucky man with both a garden and a library at home). However, since our teachers are always on their emails and looking out for us, this gives us something to fall back on when times are tough and hopefully, thanks to their help, we can all make the most of this unfortunate situation and appreciate more the safe, warm and engaging environment that BTG offers when we come back.
Year 11 student, Evan