Learning under Lockdown #5 | Maritzburg College

Learning under Lockdown #5

Learning under Lockdown #5

Sixth former Matt Zunckel shares his experiences…

It all started off as fun and exciting…

A new way of learning from the comfort of your own home. You could get up at any time to fetch food or a glass of water. If you are motivated it’s very simple to understand the new work as well as complete it with lots of time to spend with your family. The first two weeks felt like homeschooling was a breeze, but then I started to miss the classroom. Even though the typical school day is from 7:30 until 3 and at home you only work for about 4hrs each day, I started to miss the classroom. Putting up your hand in class turned out to be much more effective than asking for help on Microsoft Teams. As the work got more complicated it became harder to maintain focus and work hard.

I got my hopes up to be back at school on the 5th of May, but then it turned into the 18th and then the 1st of June. The media spoke of scrapping the school year and of course my mom started stressing and this added a lot of pressure onto me. How would I be able to handle starting my matric year again? I couldn’t possibly imagine the thought of turning 19 in matric and some of my friends turning 20. After hearing all these alternatives it was difficult to keep working not knowing if it was all for nothing or if it would make any difference at all.

Every day started to feel like it was a weekend and I started to miss certain things about school. Small things such as walking from class to class while conversing with close friends or certain teachers who always did their best to be enthusiastic and help. Days became monotonous and the only thing that kept me going was the hope that we would be back in the classroom by the 1st of June. I was privileged enough to have teachers who would go out of their way to have Zoom calls or answer private messages whenever I needed an explanation or guidance. I am so grateful that I have this opportunity to continue working during this tough time.

Driving around the farm in my spare time I couldn’t help but notice all the children playing when under normal circumstances they would be learning. It just reminded me of how lucky I am and that many people are struggling during this tough time.

If you are privileged enough to have teachers who care as well as access to online learning I encourage you to make the best of a difficult situation. Set up a work schedule and stick to it. Get your parents to hold you accountable if you do not have self-control. We cannot give up hope and need to keep working.

There is a bigger picture to all of this and it is out of our control. All we can do is not give up and take a moment to think of other people who we can help. Make the most of this time you get to spend with family and always try your best when working. Do not get anxious or frustrated when you do not understand a section. There is always someone who will be willing to help. Make the most of the many radio/TV lessons or if you are lucky enough, the Zoom calls. Sitting at a desk can be very difficult when the couch is only a few metres away, but we all need to maintain self-control. I struggle with the choice of working or sitting around doing nothing every day. It is one of the hardest things that comes with online learning, along with the distraction of social media. I try to turn off all distractions for the few hours a day that I work. I take a small break every now and then before continuing.

Learning under Lockdown has been one of the hardest things I have ever done, but we can get through it.

Stay strong.