As term 2 comes to an end we can look back at this challenging time and be proud of ourselves as an entire School for successfully navigating our way through the past few months. It sure has been a turmoil of events for students, staff, and parents due to the unfolding of Covid-19.
With the result of lockdown in late March, there was a lot of uncertainty to whether Students would be returning to School following Term 1 holidays. After an official statement from Daniel Andrews that we would not be returning, our teachers started preparations for remote learning. Needless to say, the first day of term 2 was rather different to usual. Instead of our students arriving at School, walking through the gates to start learning in their classrooms again; they rolled out of bed and turned on their laptops. Whilst getting into the swing of remote learning was a struggle for both students and teachers, with technical errors looming over us all, we soon managed to master the challenge. Although remote learning seemed daunting for some, there were many positives that surfaced from it.
Remote learning provided students with a chance to tackle their learning more autonomously. Whilst our teachers continued their teaching and learning via Microsoft Teams, it was up to our students to have the discipline to take on remote learning. Our students were given an opportunity to upskill their technical knowledge and abilities, along with their organisational and independent learning skills. These are the skills which will assist them in the future, beyond their schooling life. It was impossible to take the at-school model and duplicate it, so it was essential for our students to work collaboratively with their teachers to create a new and sufficient learning plan. Whilst this way of learning could not replace the classroom, it allowed our teaching to continue. Our students showed such maturity during remote learning, and they shined brightly throughout this entire experience.
Remote learning and being in lockdown meant more time spent at home with families. Spending more time together enhanced family connections, as children and parents became more supportive of each other, gaining further appreciation for one another. This was particularly highlighted on Mother’s Day weekend. This led to children often feeling more secure and protected by their parents, strengthening the family unit overall. We rediscovered the simple enjoyments that we can do with our families, including a family walk or even playing old board games. Having valuable family time not only gave us a chance to create greater attachment to our families, but also a chance for us to relax and wind down from our busy lives.
One of the Schools greatest successes to come out of remote learning, was our VCE Drama performance ‘After the Fires’. Performing Arts teacher Mr Felsinger, along with the drama students brought us a live digital production, which was accessible on any screen, anywhere in the world. Our students performed together, remotely, via Teams and Webinar. The online platforms allowed the group to continue with their rehearsals, and then perform their final shows. The students performed virtually for an audience, where they had control of their screens, sound, and lighting. This unique performance was a great achievement for our students and Mr Felsinger, as they navigated their way through an unfamiliar platform and demonstrated a performance with such passion and vitality.
After almost a whole term of at-home learning, it was announced that from the 25th of May, Oakleigh Grammar would be returning to at-school learning. Parents brought a sigh of relief, and excitement grew within our students as they heard that they would soon be back in the classroom with their friends. The shift back to face-to-face learning was not as easy as expected, due to the uncertainty of dealing with constant changes. We went full circle coming back to on-site learning and it was essential for our students, parents, and teachers to continue to work together focusing on our student’s school routines, sleeping schedules and the importance of self-care.
The last 3 weeks of Term have flown by, and we have almost forgotten how much can happen on School grounds. Our Makerspace room is all set up and ready for students to explore, build, and ignite their critical thinking. Our Prep students were back in the classroom with their hands-on maths activities. Year 4 classes celebrated the completion of their ‘Wildly Important Goal’ with a pyjama day. Year 12’s were back into their SAC’s and assessments, beginning their preparation for their VCE exams. Then We finished the term with an exciting casual clothes day to support Red Nose Day. If that much can happen in just a few weeks, we can’t wait to see how Term 3 will play out.
As holidays have begun and Term 2 is truly over, we would like to say a big thank you to our Community for working together and supporting each other during these unprecedented times. We hope you all have an amazing break, and that you return to school for Term 3 happy and healthy!