COVID-19 has clearly changed everyone’s lives drastically.
From wearing face masks, following social distancing protocols, and washing our hands obsessively throughout the day, we’ve all had to change our ways of living to adapt to the new normal.
As a student, another thing that has changed is how I go to school. What used to be my alarm clock going off at 6 am is now replaced with sleeping in and debating about whether or not I should keep my pyjama bottoms on for the whole day. I now have the liberty of pretending to have a bad internet connection when I’m asked a question and I no longer trudge up any stairs to get to classes. But with the comforts of being at home, the challenges of online learning and being away from the rest of the world become prevalent too.
If someone had told me four months ago that I’d be doing online classes for half of the school year, I wouldn’t have believed them. You probably wouldn’t have bought it either. And yet, here we are. Virtual backgrounds on Zoom have become the excitement of the day and walking through the school hallways with friends seems to be a distant memory.
I was nervous about going into online learning. I didn’t know how to keep up with schoolwork independently, how I was going to socialise with my friends, and staying at home all day seemed like such a mundane reality. I was worried about my grades, my communication with my teachers, and how tests were going to be assessed. I wasn’t alone, because this was something new that no one had ever experienced before.
Teachers, students, and parents have had to adapt so quickly and there’s no doubt that there have been a few bumps along the way. We’ve seen students accidentally leaving their mic on while going to the toilet, or even teachers teaching classes with kids of their own screaming in the background.
Though a lot of us may have had challenges with online schooling, students and teachers have been quick to make the most of what we have. We’ve started appreciating the triumphs, like when the old chemistry teacher shares his screen successfully or singing Happy Birthday virtually.
As much as online learning requires us, students, to be more independent and take initiative for our learning, it has also drawn us together. Checking up on friends by video call, sending pictures of notes, and making relatable TikToks about online learning have become the norm. For a lot of us, we’ve had the opportunity to develop stronger relationships with our family members who might also be working from home.
Of course, a lot of us miss regular school days. We miss seeing our classmates, teachers, and cafeteria food, but we know that we’re very lucky to be able to transition from school to e-learning so smoothly. We’re lucky to have teachers and parents that look out for us and most of all, other students that are in the exact same position, ready to joke about this sudden experience in the near future.
Like the many other changes that have come with COVID-19, online learning has pushed us to adapt, learn, and see things positively. We’ve had to be patient with the unknown and problem solving; things we’re taught are important skills at school.
Though we’ll eventually go back to school hallways, wear our uniforms, and attend class regularly again, we’ll all have shared this weird, new, and sometimes comical experience. These times will remain a constant reminder of how easy it is to stay connected, despite our physical distances.
Students from several international schools across the country have conveyed their experience:
What are some positive things you’ve found about online learning?
“Online learning has positively impacted me in some ways because it gave me more time to focus on other things besides school. I’ve picked up new hobbies, tried something new, and even talked to new people.” – Alila Herrera, SPHKV
“I get to spend more time with my mum who’s also working from home. She used to have to go to work every day and would come home quite late. Self-isolation, in general, has given us the opportunity to do more things together, which I’m grateful for.” – Ashanti Kotta, Sekolah Dyatmika
What are some challenges you’ve faced?
“The fact that I’m staying in front of a screen for around eight hours every day isn’t as fun as it first seemed. I prefer moving from one class to another compared to one tab to another.” – Sinta Winaya, Sekolah Dyatmika
“I’ve found it much harder for me to digest the information from my classes, especially because I find it harder to communicate with my teachers one by one. Another challenge is keeping my discipline in check. It’s been hard to stay motivated, especially in the first few months of learning from home.” – Ashanti Kotta, Sekolah Dyatmika
What has online learning taught you?
“Online learning has taught me to adapt to work in a different learning environment. It’s taught me to still learn and put effort into school despite the environment I’m in, as well as the circumstances of the world.” – Maliek Ten Have, ACG School Jakarta
“Online learning has taught me how important time management is. Since being in quarantine I’ve had so much more time on my hands and somehow, I managed to get nothing done at the beginning. As time went on, I learned how to manage my time and different ways to do it.” – Emma Sukerta, Australian International School.