As our BGGS community collectively embarks on one of the most challenging times we have had since the pandemic began, and as we all learn to adapt to learning from home and working from home, we are reminded of the strength of our Girls Grammar spirit—supporting and caring for one another, embracing challenges with optimism (already, we have reached the half-way mark with our isolation requirements), and being ethical citizens by doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.
Each day has a different feel—some days are better than others. As the reality of Queensland’s COVID-19 situation is now feeling very real, our students will be responding in different ways about their emotions and their motivation towards their learning. Older girls are disappointed that 18th birthday parties have been cancelled, sporting fixtures have been affected, and social interaction is limited to online only. However, reflective of our culture of gratitude and love, students have indicated that they are grateful for the smooth transition into remote learning. There is genuine joy in connecting with their teachers and peers on Zoom throughout the day.
I asked some Year 12 students for their perspective of what this week has been like for them, and their comments are below:
‘Though the times we live in are unpredictable, strange, and frankly quite scary, I have been greatly comforted by the support of my teachers. Each teacher has reached out to ensure that every member of their class is coping with the transition and asked after our families and pets! They have greeted awkward silences in Zoom lessons with understanding smiles and lockdown memes and, importantly, have been totally authentic! There is nothing I appreciate more than tangible examples of the old cliché: ‘we’re all in this together’.’
Clare Fitzpatrick (12O)
‘Although quarantining and adjusting to Remote Learning is quite challenging, teachers check up on us regularly to make sure that we are doing okay, so we rarely feel disconnected from the classroom. Quarantine has its upsides too. I’m catching up on my sleep and spending more time with family. It’s like a mini-break in the middle of the term to allow us to recharge and relax.’
Zhixuan Zhang (12L)
‘Everyone’s lockdown experience is different but if there’s one thing we’ve all learned it is the importance of staying connected. Although we may be physically distant from one another, staying emotionally connected is vital for our wellbeing. My lockdown so far has consisted of numerous Facetime calls with friends, interpretive dancing (trust me, it’s fun!) and playing Pool with my family. With the world around us changing so rapidly, I’ve felt unsettled adjusting to the demands of lockdown; however, every day, I’m learning to keep things in perspective. It’s important to seek out the good in every situation and always reach out for help if you need it.’
Sanggavi Mayooran (12B)
‘I think the cancellation of a lot of events and the general difficulty in adjusting to not seeing friends and teachers has caused a bit of unease; however, after our Ethics session today, I think our spirits have been lifted. I also just think it’s something that we get used to with time—it’s bound to be a bit of a shock to start with, but I think people are slowly getting used to it. Another thing that has made the transition easier is our incredible teachers, who have guided us so seamlessly into this new online process, which I am very grateful for.’
Sophie McLeod (12M)
There are many positives of being at home—Year 9 students have attested to being able to sleep in until 8 am—there is no travel time, and they have more time to themselves. They have been watching the Olympics throughout the day, playing with their pets and procrasti-baking. My Year 9 Japanese class has indicated that Zoom breakout rooms are well-received, and they like working at their own pace on their subjects and having more freedom with Zoom sessions balanced with independent work. Some play basketball with siblings outside during lunch breaks, some take after-school naps, and all like to watch Netflix and enjoy waking up later—students are saying that overall, they are feeling good and functioning well; the cornerstones of good wellbeing.
The Year 9 House Group Captains—the Junior Executive Force Committee—summarise their experience in the following way:
‘Welcome back to lockdown, everyone! We have all been here before, and we know we don’t want to be here again! However, last year we all acquired skills that are now helping us through this difficult time and are assisting us in settling into home learning. We also have helpful support from our teachers, peers, and family. It is easy to adjust our learning habits and maintain focus on our studies with all this assistance. As we are all close contacts, it is extremely overwhelming, but we have all the facilities and help we need to stay healthy. Why not make the experience of home learning a good one? We can and will get through this.’
We will get through this. We hope that all members of our community are being well cared for, and we trust that Queensland will return to normal life as soon as possible. And in true Girls Grammar spirit, keep in mind that ‘when the sisterhood unites, the royal blue shines bright’.
Mrs Emma Lowry
Dean of Students