Trae shares their experience with education during COVID-19
My name is Trae. I'm 15 years old, and I'm Torres Strait Islander. School has been tricky for me. My time management skills haven't always been the best. So it's been a struggle of going through higher levels of education and still keeping up with everyone else. I usually needed to be in this room we had at school. It's the Educative Hive and we'd sit in there and we'd have like 24/7 support with different teacher aides, teacher workers, and just like even university students would come in and help us. They would even let them scribe because I have all the information in my head, but I just need that extra little bit of support to help put it onto the page.
Onscreen text: What changed for you during COVID-19?
It was very cut off from everyone else. I had a lot of trouble. We didn't sort of get to connect anymore. We weren't talking anymore properly. And that didn't help me get through to people, through my teachers, through my mentors. I didn't have access to any of my mentors. So when we had assessments due, I didn't even bother touching it. I wasn't up to date on anything. I was not able to verbally communicate with any of them ever, because it's weird to have your teachers phone number, but we had emails and at that time I had no idea how to email someone and it was very uncomfortable for me to just like, Hey, could I have help with this through an email? Because I was 14, I didn't know left and right.
Onscreen text: How did changes to your schooling make you feel?
I was really lost to school. I didn't really feel as though school was needed right now. I just wanted to be to myself during the lockdown because that was it was very scary for me. My day to day was waking up at like 10am I don't want to do anything right now. Then I'd get messages of: you missed roll and then you missed this class. And then it was just like, well, if I'm missing all this out, I might as not do it today.
Onscreen text: What was it like going back to school?
When we all came back, I was just like a little bit strange to like finally see each other again. But then we all sort of adapted really quickly. Getting back into my schoolwork was a little bit easier now that I had a connection with the teacher again, I could speak to them and they could show me answers, show me references, and they could even scribe for me now, which was so much easier for me.
Onscreen text: What could be done better if there were future lockdowns?
I feel like they could definitely keep schools open, even if it was just a small group of people like me who had that disability. They could have also had that level of communication, even like a support line where we could call the mentors and tutors. Getting out of lockdown there could have been like a lockdown recovery group to sort of push everyone back together.
Onscreen text: Share your story disabilitycovidreview.education.gov.au