Year 12 – Surviving the Coronacoaster

What a year to be in Year 12!

While certainly there is the expectation of challenge in a “normal” final year of schooling, there are also a number of rites of passage students usually look forward to as well – getting their license, going to eighteenth birthday parties, valedictory dinners, senior study groups, prizes, formals and so on.  There is a kind of balance in this – in the joys playing a counterpoint to the trials, and a sense of coming of age amidst it all.

But for the Class of 2020, their final year has been dominated by the Coronavirus.  They have been shut in their homes for weeks on end, forced to learn remotely and give up many of those rites of passage that they have looked forward to for so long.

To feel cheated would be understandable.

But, probably not helpful.

One of the key skills in successful lives is in accepting the things we cannot change – and we cannot change how Covid19 has limited us in recent months.  The only power we have over these disappointments is to take charge of overcoming them.

So, let us consider what will assist Year 12 students to survive this Coronacoaster, and get the most out of their Year 12.


Accentuate the Positives

Much like my dog who loves the family being home all the time, there are always those ready to see the silver lining of Covid19, and any Year 12 who can tap into this, is likely to remain positive and focused.

One of my strongest students really enjoys online learning, and points our many positives including more time to work and get tasks done – and not just tasks set by his teacher, but tasks he sets to extend himself and improve his scores.  He enjoys the way his class is set up with more self-paced learning and more options to watch extra material online.  He is less held back by the pace of a lesson aimed at everyone and the distractions of his peers’ chatter – and feels his teachers are more able to have one-on-one conversations with him online.

This attitude means that he is taking advantage of some positives that may be available – and reframing online learning in these terms may be an advantage.


They Focus on the Future

Students who adapt quickly to the new normal do so knowing that it will not last forever.  2021 will bring new things – possibly work or university and a return to normal.  There may even be a chance that parties, jobs and other special events will be available to us later this year.  It is more fun to plan ahead and look forward to these than to lament not having them right now.

This is all going to be short-term, and remembering this can assist in the day-to-day disappointments and stresses.


They Set Goals and Make Action Plans

Speaking of planning ahead – this is a great strategy for feeling like you are more in charge of the Coronacoaster.

Yes, make plans for social events ahead.  I already have a post-lockdown list going of new and favourite places I want to return to – and discussing these is a favourite topic in my household.

But for students – setting goals and action plans around study can help them feel like they are better combatting any limitations.  It may even be that they simply find new work-around for old goals.  Want to start a study group?  Do it via Zoom.  Want to get tutoring? Find an online tutor.  Planning to study at the library for 3 hours on a weekend? Negotiate a quiet space in the home for this instead.  Want to go to Melbourne Uni?  Make sure you visit the Virtual Open Day.

And if they have a clear picture in mind of where they want to end up – help them see there are many paths to get to where you want to go.  Look at all the options – universities, entry pathways, scholarships etc.  The landscape for tertiary entry will look very different this year.


They Stay Connected

I have been alarmed by how easy it is to stay at home and forget the people you used to socialize with regularly.  We are all so busy managing ourselves and the people immediately around us, that sometimes we forget to reach out to the people who make us laugh, listen to us and may in fact, need us right now.

Regularly encourage Year 12s to connect with friends via social media or where possible in that daily exercise.

They should also stay connected with their teachers. Some students disappear in online learning and answer neither messages nor emails offering help.  But they need to see this as like a life buoy – they should grab into teacher advice and seek it out more often rather than less.


They Have Superhero Parents…

Parents, now is the time to really wear those superhero capes.  The best supported students will be the ones who are able to thrive even under these difficult circumstances.

This support could look a number of ways and take a number of forms:

  • Reminding students of positives at all times, helping them stay optimistic
  • Giving them every chance to study uninterrupted and in comfortable space
  • Keeping expectations positive but realistic – trying our hardest and having a go is what matters
  • Feed them! Give them plenty of healthy food and keep their engines charged!
  • Encouraging them to get sleep and downtime – and to see there are additional opportunities for this in our lockdown lives.
  • Making sure they get fresh air and exercise as restrictions allow
  • Ensuring they take screen-free time each day and especially on the weekend
  • Introducing them to new things you did as a child… puzzles, books, games etc
  • Turning off the news and other media on the days when the sad stories get to us
  • Create family celebrations and rituals to help replace the ones they are doing without.


Want more tips and perspectives? Check out some of the links below.