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Muted online motivation




I’ve become quite accustomed to my lockdown lifestyle, having established a routine of sorts to prepare myself for a gruelling day of online school and tackling piles of schoolwork.

The problem is that my routine, which is meant to motivate me to be productive, doesn’t achieve that. In fact, not much does.

In a recent Zoom “check-in” with school social workers, several of my classmates expressed the same concern – we’re completely demotivated, unproductive, and full of unanswered questions.

School over Zoom is simply too different to school in real life. There’s no classroom atmosphere, with that crushing pressure that we complain endlessly about, but which really does push us to get on with our work.

However, the lack of motivation and productivity has ended up being a uniting factor. Worldwide, students are relating to one another, conversing over several social-media platforms, and sharing their stories of online school and the struggle that comes with it.

I recognise that I am blessed to be able to do online school – so many fellow matrics who live in rural areas have missed out on crucial work time – but I feel as much in the dark as I did before we started with online lessons.

I’ve probably digested more information from TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram than I have from my 40-minute lessons. My teachers are working tirelessly, for which I’m grateful, and the lessons I’ve been able to focus on have been quite effective. But more often than not, I wind up with my camera and microphone off, watching my class go crazy with questions or jokes.

We share funny posts about Zoom and Google Classroom rather than facing either of them because we’re in a no-mans-land of sorts. I can only hope that our matric year isn’t jeopardised by our lack of productivity or motivation, lockdown, or the coronavirus.

In spite of how much I wish regular school could commence, it’s simply not safe, so I’ll push myself to concentrate, get on with my work online, and to keep healthy and sane.

But I think I’ll go watch some Netflix first.

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