It has been more than two months since schools reopened, and I am thrilled. To see my teachers and students come in every morning and head to class reminds me that the situation is slowly but surely getting back to normal. The threat of covid is still a clear and present danger but we must learn to deal with this and carry on forward.
The 2-year break from normal offline classes has had an impact on my students. My teachers have noticed basic changes in them that was not visible before the lockdown. No doubt online classes kept students in tune with their studies, this did make them forget the basics of being in a classroom environment.
We knew students would have to reconnect with others before settling down and this took time. We mentally prepared ourselves for the worst, but thing turned out much better than what we expected. Most of the students were eager to come back to school and made sure they were regular in attending classes. However, sitting for 40 minutes at a stretch was difficult for some students who would get restless and start fidgeting. They also wanted washroom breaks quite frequently. We have instructed our teachers to allow them to take these breaks till they adjust to the new normal once again.
When it came to completing their homework, we have noticed that they come back the next day with work not done. This was new to us as well since before the lockdown, students had a set pattern on school days that they complete their homework. Their writing and reading skill have taken a hit and so are their spellings.
I strongly believe that to get my students back to normal, they must go through the grind. Like they say, to be kind, you must be cruel. We need to get them back on track by making them go through a set routine each day.
Sometime back, a parent met me requesting that head back to hybrid classes. She wanted it to be 2 days at school and 1 day at home. But I personally believe this will be a setback for my students. The best way is to make them come to school from Monday to Friday and follow the set timings. After following this pattern in the month of June, we have seen remarkable improvements. Students are now getting into shape.
When it comes to comprehending and grasping skills, we have not seen that much of a difference since online classes kept them on their toes. But social skills have gone for a toss in many cases. My teachers have noticed that students can easily get into squabbles from a friendly chatter. We are now teaching our students to keep their hands to themselves. Even younger students in their excitement to see each other, use their hands and push each other. We are now teaching them to play and have fun without being rough.
I have seen that when it comes to maintaining discipline, the lack of that is more visible amongst older students. For instance, when the bell rings, these students do not head to their classes but are seen wasting time in the school premises. Many are also lazy. This has set in primarily because parents allowed them to take it easy while they sat at home for 2 years.
I have read news reports about social media addiction faced by students. Here, we have not yet received any complaints from teachers nor have students come up to us with these problems. We as a school, always welcome students to come forward and speak to us in case they face any difficulties. My only suggestion at this point of time is that schools should continue to follow their daily schedule and not make any changes. Day-in and day-out they need to go about their normal activities, and everything will settle down. It is going to be hard, but things will work out in the long run.
BY: BETHESA JACOB, PRINCIPAL, UNITED INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL BENGALURU