On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Lakecrest took the unprecedented step of suspending in-class instruction. This was done to ensure the safety of students and staff and to protect against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision represented a tremendous challenge — what would learning look like at Lakecrest during the COVID-19 era? Thanks to our talented staff and administrators, our Remote Learning platform launched less than one week later – well ahead of other schools in our province.
It’s now been over two months since that transition took place and we wanted to check in with students, parents, and teachers to see how they are handling the switch to Lakecrest Remote Learning. First up is Adriah, a grade 9 student who will be graduating from Lakecrest in June.
How are you doing with adjusting to the school changes?
This is definitely an unpredictable and stressful time for many people, and my peers and I am adapting to many lifestyle changes in school life. Two months ago, our means of learning suddenly and completely changed. We now work and learn from the safety of our own houses during this pandemic. We use the video chat platform called Zoom, for our online learning. When we first began our online classes, it was a very foreign area for myself, and several other students as well, I’d say. It took a little bit of time to get used to, however, within the first week, I got much more comfortable with these new changes.
Our teachers were very supportive and helpful as we transitioned into our online learning. For the first couple of days, we spent our zoom sessions with our teachers learning about this new platform and exploring how to use Zoom, as well as discussing what this online learning will be like.
Ms. Caines, the junior high health teacher, even opened up a new google classroom class titled “Student Support”, and it’s full of fun at-home activities as well as educational facts about how to stay safe during this time. The teachers have been a tremendous help for students through this challenging and unpredictable time. They came up with new ways in which they can give us our same enriched learning and described how things are going to run.
Due to the incredible support and effort of our teachers, Lakecrest was back on our feet in no time!
Each day we continue to learn and ask questions, just as we would in the classroom. I am very grateful to have this opportunity, as I know many students in the public school stream do not have this same virtual learning.
What are some things you enjoy about online learning?
There are a couple of things that I certainly enjoy regarding our online learning program. I like how we still have virtual face-to-face conversations, as opposed to only getting work sent out. In this way, we have conversations and discussions about our work with our peers and teachers, and we have the opportunity to ask any questions or clarify things about our work with our teachers. I feel like this way of learning is much more productive for getting work done than if we were to not have virtual calls, and our learning topics are much more clear in an environment where our teachers can still show us videos and diagrams, and explain uncertainties within the class.
Another thing I like about our online learning is that I get an extra hour and a half of sleep! Regular weeks can seem pretty long and I know I speak for a lot of students when I say that by the end of the week I’m exhausted! Since our online learning doesn’t start until 9:00 a.m., I feel much more energized after having a better amount of sleep as opposed to regular school days. I feel like I am more aware and can focus a lot better when I get a little extra sleep!
Another thing I have really come to enjoy about online learning is always having my pets around! Plus, they are certainly happy to have us home all the time, and they love to make occasional appearances during our zoom sessions.
Overall, I’m very pleased that Lakecrest got virtual classes running so quickly and smoothly, and I’m very lucky as numerous other schools in the province do not have this opportunity.
What is something you find challenging about learning at home?
Learning from home has definitely been a big change in our lives. Though we are doing everything we can to make this new virtual learning run smoothly, there are a couple of things that are a little bit more challenging while learning from our homes.
For instance, when we are in the classroom, Mr. Foran, the junior high science teacher, always took us out to the lab a few times each unit, to develop a further understanding of the notes that we just learned. I found that these lab demonstrations always helped me gain a deeper level of understanding of the topic. Sometimes Mr. Foran would show us 3D models in the lab, such as molecule models for our chemistry unit, and other times we would experiment with different chemicals and tools. I always looked forward to lab days, and it’s unfortunate that we don’t get that opportunity anymore. Though, Mr. Foran has come up with new ways from home in which we can study science in addition to reading and learning notes, such as outside activities!
What is something that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught you about yourself, or about the world around you?
The COVID-19 pandemic suddenly and drastically changed our way of living. Two months ago, I would have never guessed that I would have a new everyday routine that involves attending school, dance, and social events all from home. This is for sure a time that I will never forget, and I have learned a couple of things over the past weeks about my life, and the world around me.
This pandemic has taught me that the lives we lead can change in a moment and that the things that we love to do, we can easily take for granted, and not realize how lucky we are until it is gone.
A couple of months ago, I led a very busy life, revolving around school every day, endless hours at the dance studio, and plenty of studying to keep caught up in my courses. I never really truly appreciated this busy time for all it’s worth, as now all I want to do is get back to this regular, busy routine. Being forced to stay home has also taught me to be more creative in continuing to do the things I love to do in new ways from home, plus find new things that I enjoy, but previously had not had time to try. I now do all of my regular studies and dance classes at home, but I also started to paint and do woodwork! These are things I never knew I would enjoy so much, but with all of this extra time on my hands, I have really come to love new activities.
Lastly, it has taught me that without our health, we don’t have much, so we have to protect that at all costs. The world quickly descended into lock-down when our health was threatened, and all of our lives completely changed. Our health and well being come first, and we must take every protective measure to ensure that we are safe and healthy, as well as do our part to protect our grandparents and other vulnerable people in our communities.
Please join us for future installments of our Lakecrest Remote Learning series as we hear from students, parents, and staff about how they are adjusting to our new normal.