Goodbye Term One

Goodbye Term One, we barely knew you.

The first term of 2020 will surely go down in history as one of the most disrupted terms that Australian students have ever known. Between fires and smoke at the beginning of term and then the encroaching threat of COVID-19 changing the very face of education worldwide, we think all students and teachers deserve a huge round of applause for getting through it.

At Story Factory, we were able to deliver our programs despite the changes and we’re extremely proud of the writing our students produced under such strained circumstances.

As it became clearer that the health threat from this new virus was significant (remember when we were all still learning about what a coronavirus was?) we made the sad but necessary decision to cancel volunteer placements and finish the term with just our storytellers.

Despite these constrained circumstances, the creativity and imagination of our students were as bright and brilliant as ever. Like Kyle in Chifley College Shalvey, who created a very playful and funny alter ego who is a bald, boring old man who is able to kill with his blank expression. His deadpan delivery when we presented his YouTube channel interview with his alter ego to the class brought the house down.

At Auburn Girls High School Year Ten students were invited to create a script out of embarrassing moments (inspired by our storytellers’ mortifying tale of high-fiving his favourite singer in the armpit). One student wrote about getting caught in the rain and having to go to school the next day with wet shoes. She was so excited in telling the story to her volunteer and her group, and her joy and investment in the story is what made it so fantastic. It meant that when it came time to do the activity to develop the story, she wholeheartedly believed it was a story worth telling (and it was) and it made it a better product because of it.

Or at Berala Public School where students were excited and willing to get creative from the beginning, but just didn’t know how to. By working through our activities and writing prompts each week, students started creating well thought-out characters and landscapes. For example, a memory card game allowed them to mix and match different bug names to create their very own bug creation! This empowered their imagination and through discovering there were no right or wrong answers, students felt more comfortable to express their ideas and enjoy sharing them with others.

It’s clear the challenge for Term Two will be significant. Our students may not have access to a computer, a device or data. We’ve heard stories of families of four with only mum’s phone between them trying to navigate education at home.

Story Factory is totally committed to reaching our students by whatever means we can - through mail delivery of printed writing packs, through pre-recorded videos to watch any time, through live broadcasts, through online workshops after school, free workshops for educators, through social media, email, our website and through our strong relationships with schools. We may even investigate using carrier pigeons! Because even though we don’t get to see our students in person for now, we want them to know they are so important, and it’s so important for them to keep creating.

We’re looking forward to Term Two already.