Return to normal…or not?

by Gemma Bayly, Year 12, Kaipara College

It's just my desk set up for learning at home again

Almost as soon as we returned to school after the first lockdown, Kaipara College returned to normal. Students mingled in the quad with their friends before school and pushed their way into the tuck shop queues at interval and lunch. Nobody talked about COVID-19, or even about the lockdown. Sport resumed gradually during term two, and by term three, all the sports’ teams were diligently going to their games every week.
For many students and teachers, term two seemed endless. At the end of the term, the internals senior students missed during lockdown piled up on us. In one day, I had three assessments. By the time the holidays finally came after a very long term, everyone was exhausted.
After the school holidays, term three was off to a rolling start. We were just about to have our first assembly back in the hall after spending the last few months having them online. The Kaipara College school ball was held on August 1st, in Settlers in Waimauku, just in time before level three.
The lockdown came as a shock to us. One day we were at school, talking about the mock exam next week or making plans for the weekend with friends. The next day, we were at home.
I was a bit stunned at first. It didn’t feel real. I could still hear as many cars on the highway as usual, but school was closed. I was given no new schoolwork in the first week either, so it felt like the holidays. I set to work in the first few days making masks from the last few bits of elastic in the house. But by the second week, emails from my teachers were flying in, with most teachers saying they hoped we would be back at school soon.
There is a bit more urgency surrounding schoolwork in this lockdown, especially for seniors. We are closer to the end of the year, and closer to exams. Teachers already had to squeeze more work in to catch up on what we missed in April and May. Many teachers adjusted the assessments their classes would do this year, opting for more internal assessments (in class) and less external assessments (exams).
The Kaipara College mock exam week was cancelled this year. Instead, mock exams will be held in class. In other years, the topics have to be taught by the mock exams in September, so having no mock exam week takes pressure off students and teachers.
NZQA has made a few changes. The end of year exams have been pushed back by ten days. I heard a few students grumbling, “I have to do exams in December!” after looking at the new timetable. Another change is learning recognition credits. When we earn five credits, we get one learning recognition credit free. This will help us to achieve the 80 total credits needed to pass the year. Most students are happy to have these in place, in case more assessments are affected by COVID-19. After all, who knows what will happen next for Kaipara College students?

Comments are closed.