Spyros Kandias, Year 8, Oryx International School shares his experience during lockdown and the valuable lessons he has learnt.

Communication and engagement with our students has been more critical than ever during the lockdown period. The last few months have seen big changes for everyone. Spyros Kandias, a Year 8 student from Oryx International School shares his experiences during this time and the valuable lessons he has learnt.

"I longed for the day that I could stay at home and my dad did not have to go to work; little did I know that my wish would very soon come true. Although it did, I found myself wondering, was it truly a dream come true?

Since the time of when the lockdown first began and despite all the games I have played and all the films I have watched, throughout all the boredom, I have grown to appreciate school more than ever before. It has given me a chance to realise that going to school is not an option that is given to me but an opportunity or perhaps a privilege if you will, because

it truly is an opportunity to be able walk to school and talk to your classmates and teachers and ask them how they are doing. Through physical presence we have an opportunity to sit in a classroom lesson and learn new and interesting things every day. Something I now miss.

During lockdown, school is somewhat different than it was before, as it literally takes me minutes to get ready for school every day. I can also sleep for longer as there is no school uniform to put on or tie to tie in the morning. After the first couple of lessons I can enjoy my first break by eating breakfast in my kitchen, which I can’t do at school.

My school day has become pretty straight forward. I log into the computer every morning and complete my work. There is a daily timetable which I always look at the previous night to prepare myself.

School work is distributed by the teachers and if there are any questions the teachers are always online throughout the lesson to assist us.

We have break times like we would at school and sometimes assignments to do as well. It hasn’t always been easy though. It did take some getting used to. I did go through some difficulties in the beginning. Finishing work within the allocated time span, saving the wrong document, accidently deleting it or not being able to type in the required field were all common issues at the beginning of our online learning. I remember when sending my finished work to my teacher was an accomplishment within itself.

Remembering back to the first week all this was difficult however now it all seems like a piece of cake!!!

My favorite part of the school day of course are the zoom classes, because I get a chance to see and talk with my fellow class members and teachers as if I would in the classroom. It reminds me that I’m not going through this alone and my friends and teachers are there for me.

Since the beginning of the lockdown, the importance of family has really helped me emotionally and mentally. My parents and my younger brother are the closest thing to me right now and I’m glad they are because emotional support is indeed very important during these difficult times, and even my dad works from home now which is great because we can spend more family time together, which I enjoy a lot. The fact that we are all home together provides me a safe calm environment. We enjoy many activities together in the evenings and we have lots of fun.

We play board games and every night we have family Movie Nights which are a lot of fun as each member of the family picks out their favorite movie and we all watch it together.

Thanks to modern technology I am lucky enough to be in touch with my grandparents and school friends who live in different continents. Being able to see them even if it is just through a screen indeed brings us together and puts smiles on our faces.

My mum has also significantly improved her cooking skills because of all the time she has in quarantine. She has more time to prepare the meals thus enjoying herself and making food taste better. Even my brother and I made dinner together for the family one evening, and it turned out surprisingly good.

My life during quarantine has indeed changed. My everyday routine has been made different. It has taken some getting used to. Online learninghas been a challenge at times but as I have had nearly a month of experience it has become a part of my new everyday life.

During the afternoons, I have some time for me where I have re-read all of my books and novels starting with the” My diary of a wimpy kid” collection, and I even re-designed and tidied my room, which my mum is the happiest about.

I feel like the world has suddenly been put on hold and everyone while waiting has changed their way of living until someone presses play and

life as we knew it will be set in motion again, so we can experience what the outside world has to offer.

Perhaps I had never thought how lucky indeed I am to be able to go out whenever I like. I took the world and what it had to offer for granted.

This experience has definitely made me wiser.

Within my family unit I have learnt that this is a temporary situation that will soon come to an end. I have the confidence that we will success fully get through this and it will also have helped us all appreciate our normal everyday living environment and the outside world. School life will soon become ordinary again, but my virtual learning experience will have made ordinary feel extraordinary.

Our mornings will soon be back to the usual morning rush to get up, get ready, and to not be late for school. Since the quarantine began, I have found the answer to the question I asked myself in the beginning, was it truly a dream come true? My answer is that no, it was not a dream but a lesson in life. Being in lockdown has truly taught me that we shouldn’t take freedom for granted, freedom is a privilege, that we should appreciate and be thankful to have."

Many thanks Spyros for allowing us to share your experience.