The New Normal

One of our talented Year 10 pupils wrote this think piece about returning to school during the pandemic.

 

Returning to school with the COVID measures is beyond strange. There are many new things to get used to, for example: we’re boxed in to one part of the school; can’t mix with other year groups; and you order lunch on an app instead of lining up and buying it. Whilst the last one’s more of an improvement, they’re all adjustments we as students are having to get used to. Yet the biggest ‘shock to the system’ isn’t any of these, it’s the coming back after having such a long ‘break’.


Even if you’re the most sociable person ever it’s impossible to immediately find your footing again after so long away, and it’s not only the sudden amount of people you interact with daily but the work and routine that has surprised many. 


Opinions on how the transition from home to school has been varied between students. One described their experience with it as “relatively easy”, saying “overall coming back to school has been fine – it’s definitely been an adjustment considering how different everything is now, but the transition has been made relatively easy and everyone seems to have settled into the new routines without much difficulty.” However, another remarked that, “it has been very bad because we are in the middle of a crisis and like that’s not enough we have to worry about school as well.”


Clearly students have their own opinions on returning to school and whether it should even be done. Lockdown has put many in stressful positions and whilst school provides a break from the home that might be the opposite of what a few students need. However coming back to school does certainly have its benefits as well.


Unfortunately, many of us have also found home learning not as effective as learning in school, and ended up being very confused coming back to subjects we had little-to-no knowledge of. As one student remarked, “It has become quite stressful because of all the small exams we have had to do and going from not caring that much to GCSEs.” Explaining the difference between not only home learning and coming back to school, but going into Year 10 from Year 9. Putting those together has made the experience far from enjoyable for many new Year 10s.


However I think there are many reasons to be happy schools are open again! Everyone can agree we’ve missed our friends and learning in school seems to work much better for most than at home. A sense of normality in this crisis has been surprisingly grounding for many of us, too, and we can appreciate the returning to a routine instead of staying at home each day. It’s in many ways forced us to recover, at least a little, from lockdown. 


Teachers have been amazing and have been incredibly accommodating to the very varying levels of knowledge in classes from home learning, and overall the school seems to have made the return as painless as possible. The measures seem to work well – there hasn’t been an outbreak yet – and overall everyone seems to be coping. One student summed it up by saying “coming back to school has been something that hasn’t been easy but it’s something that is good and needed.” 

 

Year 10 pupil