ALL SMILES BEHIND THE MASKS:
Beechworth Secondary College Year 12 student and school captains Owen Christesen (left), Keeley Morrison with Year 7 students Ty Klippel and Abby Tidball.
BEECHWORTH Secondary College and Rutherglen High School students stepped back into the classroom on Monday after weeks of remote learning at home for the second time this year.
With students spending most of their academic year learning by different methods away from their normal school setting, a focus on well-being is a top priority for both schools as students transition back into their learning environment.
Prepared activities help students settle back into school life and Beechworth Secondary College principal Patricia Broom said having keen, energetic students back created a positive atmosphere.
“It feels like day one of a whole new year,” she said.
Ms Broom said a lot of time will be spent with students across all years with support from Department of Education and Training Victoria to make sure well-being is a top priority, .
“Some kids have loved working online, some kids are behind - we have to catch up connect and look after each other,” she said.
Rutherglen principal Phil Rogers said students were relieved to be back, excited but a little nervous.
“They haven’t seen friends for a long time and being back in the school environment can be overwhelming with such things as routines, needing to be on time and wearing school uniforms,” he said.
Mr Rogers said new technology presented challenges in the beginning but students and teachers learned new skills and had engaged in a different learning style.
“Some kids did really well and some kids struggled,” he said.
Mr Rogers said as a small school in a small rural town many students also lived on farming properties and with students not being able to see each other had missed out on social interaction with school activities including sporting ones.
“Everyone is happy to be back - it’s been a really positive feeling and has been good all round,” he said.
With different experiences encountered for some students where parents had to work from home as well, Ms Broom said they had to find their own space too.
She said Year 7 students only being at school for eight weeks this year were getting to know each other again.
Beechworth Secondary College Year 12 student and one of two captains, Owen Christesen, said he missed the school atmosphere through having to work from home as well as important study groups where students helped each other.
“It’s great to be back and see friends but feels a bit weird because we haven’t been at school for quite a while,” he said.
“The year goes quickly especially for year 12 students but I feel like we have hardly been here and we have VCE exams next month.”
Glad to be back at school, Rutherglen Year 11 student Kehlee Rose said it was hard get all school work done at home, when unable to be face-to-face with teachers.
“Having teachers in the room to help clarify instructions is really helping me to get back on top of my studies,” she said.
At the start of remote learning, Kehlee said it was even more challenging without access to her own computer but the school provided her with a laptop shortly after ‘lockdown’, which “was great”.
“We had a lot of support available and were encouraged to contact the school at any stage,” she said.
HAPPY: Rutherglen High School students Kehlee Rose (left), Natasha Neely and Shaylee Frost are glad to be back with face-to-face learning.