April 05, 2020 07:52:29
From missing classroom interactions, to learning directly from a teacher, to 18th birthday bashes — the year ahead for Victorian Year 12 students is up in the air due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Key points:While students are disappointed about missing out on social events, they admit it’s a “first-world problem”They are worried about some students’ lack access to computers and the internetVCE students feel uncertain about what the rest of the year holds
This week the ABC spoke to Year 12 students from across the state, via Skype, about how they are feeling about the coronavirus-imposed home isolation. The students are largely upbeat about the challenges that lie ahead. They are ready to learn online, but have concerns not all students have good access to the internet and computers at home.Missing out on all the social events that come with Year 12 is also a frustration, but they acknowledge that is “a first-world problem”.Students to miss birthday parties, getting drivers licencesLucy French is a school captain at Maribyrnong College. The school also has a sports academy and she is a volleyballer with aspirations to go to university in the United States.But team training is, of course, off.”The sports academy is thinking of really innovative ways to bring challenges and different activities for us to do at home,” she said.”But obviously it’s just not that same connection as in a training session.” While Lucy and others are coping with the prospect of online learning, there is frustration that when she turns 18 she can’t go to VicRoads to apply for her probational car licence.”Obviously missing out on those Year 12 things is a first-world problem, something we really look forward to and I guess that milestone of turning 18.”Bri Hines, from Myrtleford P12 College in Victoria’s north east, is also aware that many rites of passage, such as 18th birthdays and school formals, will be difficult in the age of coronavirus.It also means study plans for the VCE are in disarray.”Honestly, it’s fairly daunting but I’m having a lot of mixed feelings about it,” she said.Not everyone has access to computers, internetAnd while she is equipped to learn from home, she is worried about students that don’t have internet access or a home computer.”I know people, for example, just don’t have internet access at their homes. So, it’s very much a case of are they going to be able to attend classes,” she said.Many students who spoke to the ABC had similar concerns. “Having online classes sort of highlighted the need for equitable resourcing of schools,” Mitchell Sprague, a student at Overnewton Anglican Community College in Keilor, said.He said he and his classmates were ready for online learning but uncertainty about exams weighed on their minds. “It’s a little bit nerve-racking not knowing what where this is going. We don’t have any definite answers,” he said.”And I guess we can’t be provided with a definite answer because no-one knows how this pandemic is going to pan out.”It’s already a stressful time Coburg High School student Spud Harrap said the monotony of being at home and not seeing friends was concerning.”The interaction with people … there’s nothing that can replace interaction with your friends and your teachers,” he said.”If you’re just locked up at home with the same couple of people every single day, it can sort of get a bit boring and mundane.”The Government is determined to make it possible for them to be able to finish their VCE but many students are anxious about how this will work.”The question is always going to be in the air — if we’re going to have to repeat the year or if it’s going to be extended to next year,” Emily Gundry from Bendigo Senior Secondary College said.”Year 12 is generally a stressful time, so having it extended isn’t really ideal.”Emily is ready for the online world, and believes her school is too.Back at Maribyrnong College, Elaine Greeley said she would miss the interaction with other students and teachers.But with the State Government’s ban on mobile phones at school only one term old, Elaine has found some humour in the situation.”I think it’s pretty funny and slightly ironic because the biggest thing for us this year was having the mobile phone ban,” she said.”And we were all a bit worried about how we were going to cope with that.”Now the majority of the year looks like it’s going to be online and, you know, using our phones and our laptops to communicate with our teachers and our friends.”