The first few weeks of term one at Katherine High School have been somewhat chaotic - students have contended with two lockdowns in the space of a day as fights broke out, teachers leaving, and widespread internet blackouts disrupting the school's attempt to shift more classes online.
In the face of ongoing teacher retention issues the school has been forced to diversify. Some students say it has made learning more difficult, while it has provided others with unique opportunities.
Year 12 student Gypsy Schmidt is Katherine High School's sole student of modern history.
Aligning with the rest of the world learning to live online as the pandemic forced people out of their workplace and into their homes, each week Gypsy sits alone in a classroom and zooms into her lesson.
She is one of many at Katherine High taking classes online through distance education. Without it, the lessons simply would not be available.
"The first few weeks have been a little bit disruptive with the internet cutting out," Gypsy said.
"I think there are a few concerns with things that are outside of our control, like the WiFi going down, which could become potentially problematic.
"We had issues with hotspotting and slower internet, so I missed out on some of my lessons... but the classes have been very supportive and I think everyone is grateful they are there."
School captain, Liberty Rossiter's biology class was shifted online and delivered through distance education last year after three successive teachers quit their positions leaving no other options.
She said her maths class saw the same fate, putting her off distance education in her final year.
"We had a pretty bad teacher shortage last year... We couldn't get a biology teacher so [the class] went online, but the room wasn't equipped to learn. We had nine kids who had never done online learning before, so there was a lot of pressure.
"But the school has definitely set things up better this year."
Taking English, philosophy, society and culture, and biology classes in her final year - in a bid to get an ATAR score to study something along the lines of physiotherapy at university - Liberty said she was relieved to have a timetable filled with face-to-face classes.
Jim Rollinson echoed the same sentiment, saying he "got lucky" he isn't taking classes online.
"It was looking like physics was going to be online but [the school] luckily found a teacher," he said.
Studying a heavy load of English, math, scientific studies and physics he said his learning could have been jeopardised by the teacher shortage.
He said he would have chosen a different class to physics to avoid the school's shift to distance education.
"If we had enough teachers, the classes would be face to face which is always going to be better for learning."
In its remote setting, and severely underfunded, Katherine High School - along with many other industries in the region - has long struggled to attract and keep teachers.
In 2019, the NT Government controversially cut $500,000 from its Katherine teacher rental subsidy scheme to help rescue its ailing budget.
The move - widely rebuked - is still causing issues today.
Housing subsidies have long been used as a key method to attract teachers to remote areas like Katherine, which the teachers union says has the highest turnover of teachers in the NT.
Katherine High School principal Sharon Oldfield said the school has resorted to distance education to expand what is on offer, while diversifying and providing a range of classes.
She said the shift online has allowed students in a small school to take up classes they might not have been able to elsewhere.
"We had one student who wanted to do modern history and three students who wanted to do chemistry, no school can cater for that. So providing the distance education allows us to cater for them," she said.
In its diversification, the school is also providing students with alternate pathways to university.
Eight months into a Vocational Education and Training course in business, Nikita Kruger, in her final year of school, has a completely different outlook on her future.
Through the course, she says she has developed confidence and skills in customer service - spending one day per week working at Katherine's local Westpac branch.
"When I started I thought I wasn't going to fit, but I'm actually really good. I'm very proud of myself," she said.
"I've had a lot of compliments from people who are really proud of me as a young Indigenous female and a role model to my siblings."
She said that without the opportunity to build up points through the course, she wouldn't have been able to get an ATAR score, ruling her out of higher education and a career in nursing.
"The VET courses are to cater for the broad range of our students - they've been added, not changed," Ms Oldfield said.
"We did a lot of planning and surveying of our students to see where their interest lies - we've added and expanded what we're offering."
About 120 students in year 10 and 11 have taken part in VET courses, Ms Oldfield said.
"It is a very well supported, personalised program with staff on site to support the students - they are receiving quality education."
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