As Term 2 begins at Melbourne Girls Grammar, teachers and students alike continue adapting to the new norm. It’s school, but not as we usually know it. While the Student Executive Council are usually busy organising ways for the student community to come together to celebrate, fundraise and build relationships – they’re now navigating not just learning remotely but connecting remotely.
“The experience itself of remote learning is quite a surprise. I can’t say this is the Year 12 I was envisioning at the start of the year – but it’s all about being adaptable I suppose!” said School Vice Captain, Scarlett.
While everyone is finding their own ways to make the most of the situation, something that stands out for all of us is the importance of exercise.
“I have really liked how remote learning has put to use all the skills that we learn in the Senior Years Program. In my experience, I have not found it that hard to organise or motivate myself to do work, as I’ve already spent some years learning how to work independently and seek help when I need.”
Taylor House Captain Grace likes to ensure she marks the end of her school day with exercise. “It’s really important for me to break up the school day and study time, so I choose to workout at around 3.30 each day.”
Scarlett agrees. “Exercise, even if it’s just a walk, is really good for balance. Going into Term 2, I’m aiming to have a more consistent routine for getting out of the house. I like the idea of stopping to exercise each day at 3.30 – as it resembles the natural break between school and home.”
When it comes to lessons, our Year 12s are some of the best examples of truly independent learners who have used their time at the School to work out what works for them, how to manage their time effectively and make the most of the resources on offer when needed.
“Although it can be difficult to remain motivated in a more casual environment, the skills I have refined over the years, particularly during the Year 9 and 10 learning programs, ensure that I am equipped with as much support as possible to achieve success during my Year 12,” says Community Action and Service Vice Captain Claudine.
Art Captain Athena echoed the same sentiment about the Senior Years Program, “I have really liked how remote learning has put to use all the skills that we learn in the Senior Years Program. In my experience, I have not found it that hard to organise or motivate myself to do work, as I’ve already spent some years learning how to work independently and seek help when I need.”
As Principal Dr Toni Meath outlined in this blog, Melbourne Girls Grammar was well placed to migrate to remote learning at the end of last term. Our capacity was not just about technological infrastructure, but more importantly about the quality of the teaching and curriculum that the School has always been known for.
Cohort Liaison Vice Captain Charlotte is finding that while the delivery is different, she’s still getting everything she needs in class time. “The quality of learning is still of a high calibre as my teachers are all very organised in maintaining academic rigour. Despite not being at school, I have a connection with all my teachers, and find that even though I’m not in the same room as them, I can still learn new things and understand complicated topics.”
Whilst our Grammarians are doing their best to stay on track with their learning and exercise, it is to be expected that they’re also going a little stir crazy. Our leaders are encouraged to take time out to complete creative activities which help them relax and stay positive.
Despite not being at school, I have a connection with all my teachers, and find that even though I’m not in the same room as them, I can still learn new things and understand complicated topics.”
“I’m doing colouring and drawing during the time when we would have assemblies or House Wellbeing Time if there isn’t anything scheduled, which gives me time to relax and focus on something away from schoolwork,” says Charlotte. “I have found that also doing a bit of exercise or reading a book for an hour straight after school finishes, before starting homework, valuable in ensuring that I can make the most of my hours of work after school.”
Claudine is making the most of the extra time at home by ensuring she works in ways to keep fit and escape the screen for a while. “I like to keep healthy by using my spin bike and taking the time to cook myself lunch most days. I also eat most meals outside and walk my dog to ensure I am getting valuable time away from screens.”
While none of us know exactly when we can all return to school, it’s been truly amazing to see the proof points in action of just how dynamic and resilient our student cohort really is.
As Athena so eloquently said, “It’s pretty extraordinary to be living through something like this, and experiencing what we are experiencing globally. This whole experience has helped to bring the cohort together, as we recognise we’re all in the same boat, and that supporting each other is what’s really important in a time like this.”
In order to support one another and retain a sense of social closeness, the SEC are participating in and coming up with ways for everyone to feel a sense a community. The MGGS News Blast’s first edition was recently sent to students, with new activities to try, albums to listen to and opportunities to give feedback and suggestions. A ‘Remote Scavenger Hunt’ was created by House Captains, and the ‘Remote Relay’ has been a particularly great addition.
“In the ‘Remote Relay’ each student is nominated to give an account of their day, sharing funny anecdotes and helpful wellbeing tips through email,” said Claudine. “It’s a great example of students finding creative ways of connecting and showing support.”
We are extremely proud of our student representatives, and all they’ve done to not just adapt to remote learning, but to also think about how their actions can benefit not just themselves but their peers and the wider school community.