With many parts of Australia in lockdown recently, senior high school students have had to manage workloads and prepare for exams in uncertain times.
This has placed extra pressure on teachers, students, and parents who have coped with homeschooling, timetable changes, and exam rescheduling.
For the Rodd family, enforcing positive learning strategies played a big part in their lives. Emma, 17, sat her final Year 11 exams during lockdown and dad Darren is a high school teacher who has supported Emma through these troubling times while also mentoring his own students.
To help Emma with homeschooling, Darren advised her to set up environments. "She has a study area, a chill zone and an exercise routine," he said.
"She has kept a good routine and will easily cope with the return to the schooling environment when things get back to the new normal.
"Both as a parent and teacher, I have been extremely proud of Emma's commitment to her schooling during these difficult times."
Many of Darren's own students have also coped well, but some have struggled. "I have had many conversations with my students' parents and have noticed a real similarity between the parents' methods of coping and their children," he said.
"Some parents are encouraging and very supportive, and some find it all just too hard to cope and therefore have given up and stopped engaging. Mental health issues for some parents are truly reflected in their children, and engagement to school work and study."
Darren's advice was to keep as close to a normal routine as possible, set a study roster, maintain regular hours and functions, set up break times and designate areas for different activities such as study, meals and relaxation.
In lockdown, Emma faced last-minute changes and had to complete her preliminary exams online during the final weeks of Term 3. "To begin with, I was stressed," she said. "I was overwhelmed with the idea that I only had a week and a half to study for seven exams.
"However, after I properly read through the conditions of the exams and how they were to operate, I was relaxed and calm. The exams were to be shorter in length and reduced in content. The school also allowed us three entire study days ... before the exams to prepare."
During this time, Emma felt "extremely supported" by both her parents and her teachers, who were always available to answer any questions and give feedback on practice questions or past papers they provided.
"The advice that really worked for me and impacted the way I went about homeschooling was stick to a routine," Emma said. This motivated her to complete set tasks for school and stay on top of everything.