Meet Eloise, a year 10 student from Open Access College in SA (also known as OAC) who enjoys singing in the Australian Girls Choir, trampolining and cooking.
Eloise came to study online under the medical enrolment program at OAC because of uncontrolled epilepsy.
Moving to distance education has done wonders for Eloise's confidence, self belief and grades. After impressing her teachers with her hard work, leadership qualities and resilience, Eloise wrote an article describing her experience with distance education.
Read below for her story:
My name is Eloise and I am in year 10 at OAC. I started at OAC at the beginning of last year, in year 9. I am at OAC under a medical enrolment because I have uncontrolled epilepsy. I take lots of medicine everyday but they still don’t control my seizures most of the time. I can have times with no seizures and then I will have lots all at once. This usually means I end up in hospital and get given a loading dose of medication. That makes me feel horrible for a few days but it stops my seizures. I have spent a lot of time in hospital over the years.
I joined OAC because I missed so much school in past years. If I looked unwell at school, they would send me home. If I had seizures and loading meds, I couldn’t go back to school that week. I would feel like I was behind because I would miss the start of topics or wouldn't have finished the last topic because I had been so sick and when I got back to school the class had moved on. I always got D’s and C’s for my grades because I could never keep on top of all the work.
Starting OAC was the best thing that happened to me for school because I finished Year 9 with 5 A’s and 2 B’s. I had never gotten grades like that in my life, It also helped me know I actually was smart. With only having 1 lesson a week for each subject, I could spend the rest of the day getting my work and assessment tasks done. When I had seizures that didn’t need a hospital visit I could sleep them off and wake up for my classes. If I am in hospital, I can do my class right there from my hospital bed. When I have hospital appointments, I can do my class in the cafeteria between appointments. If I have lots of seizures and medicine it affects my memory and processing. When teachers record lessons I can watch them again later if I need to. I now never feel like I miss out on a class.
All the teachers at OAC are amazing and understanding of the students because lots of kids are there for medical or other reasons. They make accommodations if needed and are always helpful and quick to get back to you if you have any questions or need help. They have all been super supportive and it’s surprising how engaging and interactive they make the learning when it’s all online.
When I was at my old school I always felt dumb, as if I wouldn’t be able to do much in the future. I never let myself dream about future careers because I felt I couldn’t reach it. I am still not exactly sure what I would like to do in the future but I actually think I could now go to University to study when I finish year 12. I am excited to be doing a couple of SACE subjects this year while I’m in year 10. OAC has given me a belief in myself that I never had before.
I think the most valuable aspects of OAC for me have been:
● I can do my lessons anywhere
● Teachers record and send me the lessons so I can catch up or revisit if I need to
● I have flexibility to get work that is due, done throughout the day
● I have learnt to be organised, prioritise work and to work independently
● I have gained confidence in contacting my teachers and tech support when I need help
● Although it’s all online and I am sitting at my desk, I still feel a part of a school and class group. They don’t just lecture at us, we get to be involved in the lesson for every class and I respect that.
● Teachers make the work interesting, are helpful and understanding
● OAC face to face days have enabled me to meet my teachers and people in my year level. I have been able to make friends with kids who have also struggled at ‘regular’ school.
● Flexibility of OAC enables me to do other things outside of school that I enjoy. I am in the Performing Choir with the Australian Girls Choir, I do trampolining classes at bounce and I do cooking classes. Although I don’t see friends everyday at school, I have friends outside of school I see each week.
● All of the above has given me self-belief and confidence that I can do almost anything!
OAC has helped me so much and it is an AMAZING way to do School! Thanks OAC!