Doing Year 12 in the time of COVID

“This was supposed to be the best year of school and now I feel like I have missed most of it”.

As we all come to terms with a range of disappointments brought about by COVID-19, I thought it would be helpful for our MECS Community to gain a little insight into how COVID has affected our Year 12 students. The following is a summary of some of the thoughts and feelings as expressed by them in response to three key questions:

What has been challenging about this year?

Many students expressed challenges with remote learning both from an educational and social perspective. Educationally they said that the workload wasn’t so much the issue, but it felt “messy” and it was harder to ask and receive answers from teachers straight away. Perhaps the greatest effect has been felt socially. Year 12 is a challenging year anyway but usually students gather together to support one another, share the highs and lows of receiving results, and discussing future assessments. They also support each other in more personal ways which are harder to do online.

Even with the return to school, many students expressed that the weekends were a time to look forward to, where they could have a break from their studies by going to youth group or other social outings (shops, movies, parties). Instead they are feeling as though they are not being given the chance to have any “downtime”.

And of course there are disappointments around the rites of passage into adulthood that are being missed or postponed – 18th birthday parties, getting a driver’s licence, last day of school celebrations and potentially a change to the look of their graduation event.

It just doesn’t fit the picture of Year 12 that they had in mind and that many may have thought of for most of their schooling.

Have you been able to identify any positives/areas you have grown in?

In answering this question most students focussed on appreciation for the things that they may have taken for granted. These included a greater appreciation for school, (its resources and the social opportunities), family, freedom to go places on weekends and holidays (many are not comfortable using public transport now) and having routines.

Some students said that they felt that they had developed better in the areas of self-motivation, organisation and self-discipline. These are qualities that will be invaluable in the future.

What can our school community be praying for?

Motivation – Some students have lost some of their drive due to a perceived lack of hope for the future.

Peace - About the future, dealing with disappointments, and that things will generally work out OK.

Studying and exams – that there will be less anxiety around these.

Creativity in thinking about ways we can still connect and bond as a year level.

If you could take the time to uphold our Year 12 students in prayer as they embark on their final semester of learning, I am sure they would feel very grateful.