Lockdown Learning!

By Mariam Hussain

18 March 2021

Lockdown. The dreaded word which may not have even crossed our minds before March 2020. From the first lockdown, which not only came as a surprise to most of us and lasted for half of 2020, to Lockdown 2.0 where students continued to attend school but the virus continued to exponentially grow and thrive off individuals, to Lockdown 3.0, the expected yet disliked Lockdown, ESPECIALLY for those of us in education. 2020 was supposedly going to be the perfect year in which we gained our GCSE qualifications, left school, turned 16. It was supposed to be filled with many more exciting events. However, we ended up spending 6 months in a lockdown. For most of us Year 11’s, we may have spent 6 months catching up on Netflix, playing FIFA endlessly, or finding a new hobby. None of this included doing online lessons to keep up to date with content, because to the happiness of many, our exams were cancelled. The only thing we could do was prepare for our next steps, whether that was to do our A Levels or an apprenticeship, we had something to look forward to.

Fast forward 5 months since the beginning of the 2020/21 academic year…

Lockdown 3.0. This is the lockdown where education was extremely relevant to us. The pause button was hit in the middle of our A Levels, a year, despite all the disruptions faced, where we were finally getting into the flow of things. At the beginning of January we found out we wouldn’t be returning to the corridors of schools for the beginning of the Spring Term, rather sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen all day, unmuting or typing in a chat box to give a response as opposed to having a class discussion and raising hands. Welcome to the world of virtual school, one that many students in the year above us had been experiencing for 6 months of 2020.

Here are the opinions of some Year 12 students studying during a pandemic…

In my opinion, lockdown in general, for me, is not the worst case scenario: it is easily adaptable and not too hard to adjust my routine… Online lessons, however, I know everyone is finding them hard and personally I work better in a class environment. It is hard to work at home especially when sometimes internet loses connection, printing off all resources …Still, teachers are working as hard as they can and I appreciate their effort as it isn’t the best time for everyone – Dina

Firstly, I would say it is very unusual waking up in the morning and being able to do early lessons in my pyjamas, I’m certainly not saying this is a negative. Luckily, I haven’t had too many technical difficulties with Teams and I have been able to enjoy lessons as best as I can…lockdown has affected my personal life stopping me playing football and going to the gym, but daily walks with my family help to keep me fit and healthy. Overall, I am trying to stay positive and think about the better times ahead – Sol

As a student during lockdown I’m finding A Levels even harder than they usually would be. Lockdown is making me lack in motivation and I now am struggling to reimagine a world on the other side of all of this. A levels are already described as one of the hardest things to do as a student and to have to worry about completing these under the current circumstances is a really hard concept to come to terms with. I hope year 13 things can be back to normal and we can actually get the education we desperately need. - Anonymous

Online school can be very challenging however, for the past month I have learnt that by keeping a schedule/timetable allows me to participate in my lessons, and utilise my time so that I can achieve the grades that I need, yet also the time to allow myself to enjoy my day. I am grateful for the teachers, who not only check up on me regularly but who are patient when I ask for extra help on class work. Nevertheless, online learning can be daunting but with a positive attitude and by keeping my goals in mind, it allows me to remain focused! – Serish

As a student learning in lockdown, it has been difficult to say the least. You don’t realise how important a classroom dynamic is to your learning until you’re no longer in that environment. You find yourself missing the little things such as a teacher being physically there to help you when you’re stuck, and not having to unmute yourself when you want to ask a question. Staring at a screen , paired with the stress of the pandemic has been draining, I think this is the reason for my lack of motivation to work hard while alone. – Anonymous

Initially moving to online lessons was a challenge, but overall it’s not too bad. It’s tough not having the interactions with different people and not having the social aspect of college. I feel like I can concentrate quite well while home learning without getting distracted. Sometimes it’s easier as you aren’t surrounded by people talking to each other. However it is more difficult to get help with certain things like having questions explained in maths is now more difficult than before. Hopefully this doesn’t last too much longer. -David

Stress. Hard. Technical difficulties. Lack of motivation. A few words and phrases to describe the true reality of being an A level student amidst a global pandemic. However, many students feel that keeping spirits high and maintaining motivation will help them get through this lockdown.

Positivity - the practice of being or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude. Having a positive attitude is essential to get through these unprecedented times and we will come out on the other side, with the ability to say we survived yet another lockdown!

The endless support from teachers also seemed to be a motivator for individuals, all who give credit to those who never stopped working throughout the pandemic and who continue to support us in all aspects of our educational journeys. THANK YOU!

So, in 10 years- time we can speak about our experiences of being students through a global pandemic. The experience of going through multiple National Lockdowns and the ability to still succeed. We are going to be the people in History textbooks of the future. The ones who were relentless in their efforts to get the best grades possible and beat an unknown virus which suddenly flipped our worlds.