The kids just can't wait to get back to the classroom.
After six weeks of school being closed, two Taupō teachers say their students can't wait to see their mates again. And both teachers say they are looking forward to face-to-face teaching.
"We had some very sweet messages from the kids to say they are missing us as well," said Waipahihi School teacher Kim Stevens.
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Online learning 'game-changing' - but many may still miss out
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Suzy Cato fronts at-home school lessons, learning packs and computers on way
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Music teacher's 'song' about coping with distance learning
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Computers to the door, educational TV planned for lockdown learning
Every school had the challenge of setting up digital learning for home-based learning. Every parent and caregiver had the challenge of making sure their child could access the technology. Behind the scenes, the schools' leadership teams and teachers put in some huge hours to make it happen.
Kim said initially there was great excitement from her primary school students about online learning. She said some of the kids really loved connecting with their peers online, while other children did their own thing with their families. Pressures at home where parents were essential workers was a factor.
Not worried about kids getting behind in their learning, Kim says the priority for her is students' mental health, saying some of the learning at home with families has been exponential.
"Online learning was us making the best of a bad situation. Really, teaching is about making those connections in person."
An unexpected benefit of online learning is that it encouraged some students who were less involved in the classroom setting.
"Kids that would not normally speak up in the classroom have been really coming through with the online learning. Some of them are shining, and this is a positive takeaway for me," said Kim.
She is looking forward to getting back to school and seeing her students again.
"I can't wait to see those faces for the first time," said Kim.
Living at Tihoi brings its own challenges for Taupō-nui-a-Tia College English and media studies teacher Kate Findley.
"Two days before this term started, a rat chewed through our fibre optic cable. I had to drive through a flock of sheep to get reception to hotspot off my phone for a staff video conference," said Kate.
Kate said her students have had fun with their online learning, saying it's all good for relationship building.
"Some days we all wear crazy hats. I met the year nines' pets the other day."
She said online learning has generally gone well, although some students have had challenges with internet connections and sharing devices.
"We try and keep it upbeat, but the students also want their credits," said Kate.
Kate says she thinks the year 13 students will be okay, and says generally her students have remained positive throughout the lockdown.
"They are good at communicating what they need. We are ready to scoop them up when we go back to school."
She says the school's leadership team has made a phenomenal effort to assist the NCEA students with their learning.
Remote learning with video conferencing has meant students miss out on the vibe of being in a classroom.
"At the moment the kids are missing out on those amazing learning opportunities in the classroom. There is nothing like experiencing things with your mates."
Kate is missing the face-to-face connections, and says for her, that is the joy of teaching.