by Gemma Bayly, Year 12 student, Kaipara College
The seasons changed very suddenly this year. The last time I waited for the school bus in the morning, I didn’t need to wear a jumper. Now, I shiver as I wait, my breath coming out in puffs of steam. At school, we flood into the classrooms to warm up. By the time we emerge for interval, the sun is warming the sky, and the field is covered in students.
I went back to school on Wednesday the 20th of May, close to a week after Level 2 began. By that stage, the Year 9’s and 10’s had been there for a day already. For the first few days, the school was full of excited voices. Most of us hadn’t seen our friends since the last day of school before lockdown. My classes were loud and happy, no matter how much teachers tried to calm us down.
School is slightly different now. Yellow COVID-19 posters are stapled everywhere. Every time we enter a classroom, we have to use hand sanitizer. On the bus, the seat closest to the driver is roped off with danger tape, meaning that even more people have to stand. Ironically, the people standing are even closer to the driver than they would have been if they sat behind him. We don’t have to social distance in our classes. It would be almost impossible to keep apart, especially in the classes where every single seat is filled. Walking around the school, we can be amused by the people who decided to try out a new hairstyle during the lockdown or let their mum cut their hair.
If they hadn’t already, the teachers soon realised some students did work at home, and some didn’t. Everyone is at different stages. Some students found it hard t
o be motivated at home, where they didn’t have a teacher watching them. Some students didn’t understand the work without an explanation. Others struggled with internet connections. Other students loved learning at home where they could work whenever they wanted.
Even back at school, more of our work is online than usual. If we are sick, we have to stay home, instead of toughing it out like we normally would. Instead of having assemblies in the hall on Fridays, Mr McCracken talks to the school through a Google Me
et. We’ve been spending extra time with our mentoring classes, setting new goals and making sure we are on track to get NCEA.
For most students, life has returned to normal very quickly. We have to get up early to catch buses again, put on our uniforms and sit down at a school desk with a teacher standing nearby. Even with a few changes here and there, school seems as if we have been here all along. Lockdown is turning into a memory.