On our last day of school back in March, I was feeling fairly nervous.

I wasn’t going to see my friends for a while, and the idea of working online at home seemed really different to what we were used to. I remember feeling very sad at the end of the day, as I didn’t know what was going to happen and how long this would go on for.

I think most people were excited to get away from exams and schoolwork. I was kind of in the middle – I love learning new things, but on the other hand I was glad I didn’t have to do my least favourite subjects anymore.

Staying calm

Those first few weeks were a big change for everyone. I actually enjoyed being in lockdown and working online, as I generally find it easier to type out schoolwork than write it. It also meant I could do more research in different subjects than I would have done in the classroom, but it still felt strange not being around my friends and teachers.

I personally think that I did very well with my schoolwork during lockdown, I kept on trying when the work was difficult, and I believe my teachers were impressed by how much I’d co-operated with the work we were set. Our teachers set all of our work online across different sites, and I found most of it was at my level, which was useful. Some work was fairly stressful and difficult to keep on top of – I struggled with some of the exams and assessments we were set, but I did what I could.

My teachers were understanding with the work I found difficult, though, and gave me alternate work to try. I soon found that this was an easy way to stay calm and get on with my work without feeling anxious; If I started struggling on a piece of work, I could email my teachers through the school website and receive a quick and clear response.

Life skills

Over the last few months I feel as though I’ve improved my independence and life skills. Being at home and not going out to many places has given me lots time to improve on some life hacks. A few months ago I found out that I’d come first in the lower secondary category of a poetry competition I’d entered, which I hadn’t been expecting. It made lots of people around me feel very proud, and it made me feel very chuffed, happy and excited, since hundreds of people would now know me for winning.

Other than not seeing my friends, the hardest thing about being away from school has been not having responsibility – for getting to class on time, and for keeping track of my schoolwork. Doing all of your work at home can be challenging, especially when there times where you can be easily distracted, and when there’s a cosy, warm and tempting bed in the next room. There can also be a lot of noise around you, which gets slightly annoying.

At the moment, though, the idea of going back to school makes me feel quite nervous. I’ll be entering Y10 and a whole new world of exams and studying, but at least I’ve had a break and the chance to prepare myself for studying hard and being tested on my knowledge.

When we return to school, I’m hoping that things won’t be too different, and that school doesn’t become too serious all the time because of us having to socially distance for at least 2 metres. Then again, I know that school will have to follow a completely different, maybe even opposite, format to what it did before. All I hope is that people stay safe and sensible.

Teoni is a Y10 student from Devon and one of the winners of Voices 2020 – a creative writing competition for care-experienced young people run by Coram Voice. To read the winning pieces, visit coramvoice.org.uk/voices

Teoni’s winning entry:

Dreams Are For Everyone

I have many dreams
Some of them won’t happen
But you never know
If you don’t put in the effort.

I’ve wanted more clothes and fame
People swooning at my name
Fame and fortune isn’t everything
And to me family means more
But that doesn’t stop you from pursuing your

I may have struggled previously
But no need to let that stop me from achieving
my goals.

I despise reading, homework and maths
To be honest I’d rather keep downloading apps
But my future is in my hands
So I seriously need those exams.

I wanna keep the friends I have forever
So we can sing, laugh and cry together
Sharing memories, achievements and pain
Good times, bad times repeated over and
over again.

Follow your dreams wherever it leads
Don’t get distracted with less worthy needs.

I hold on tight to my dreams
For if my dreams die
To me, sleeping without them is like a broken-winged bird
That struggles to fly.

So you hold on tight to your dreams
‘Cuz when they go
It’s like a barren field
Bitter, lifeless, low.

My message to you is to take all that you’ve become
To be all that you can be
Soar above the clouds
And let your dreams set you free.

No need to let the past define anyone
Especially me
As all I can do is be strong, carry on and be
the best I can be.