Schools Post Covid

Schooling Redefined

COVID-19 is everywhere… it hit us from nowhere and when it began it came across as just a viral, we all assumed that the adjustments and the changes are just for a bit. A year and a half later, the pandemic hasn’t ended, but in this time, a lot has changed. Most of us are working from home, some have domestic help, some don’t, there are people who have lost jobs, and the worst hit are ones who have lost someone close. There are enough heart wrenching stories doing the rounds and while most of these issues pertain to adults, there is one segment that has been affected and deeply so… Children… the definition of life has changed for these little ones, online schooling, not meeting friends, the stress and anxiety of the times that they hear about and see in their parents, and possibly some of them have lost people they love too. But, as human beings we are wired to move on, to look ahead. As things gradually settle down, schools will reopen, however, the way teachers and administrators perceive children will have to change.  

Emotional support

Teachers and administrators will need to change their perception to accommodate the emotional upheaval that children have gone through. Children are not equipped to express their emotions, not all of them know the words that can be used to describe how they are feeling. They need to be taught how to express what they feel, giving their feelings words will help them to talk about all that they have gone through. While parents play an important role in doing so, teachers will have an equally important role. When children resume school, the first thing that they will need is emotional support from their teachers. There will be a need to look beyond what they portray and delve into their thoughts to understand them. It will be important to teach them to talk, to express and to share. Teachers will need to be more patient, more understanding, and more compassionate.

Artistic tools for expression

There will be a need to give children tools to express how they are feeling, how they have felt, and the impact that COVID has had on their heart and mind. A good way of helping children express their pent up feelings is through art and craft. These act as mediums for expression and can also help in calming them down and assisting them in getting over things that may be troubling them. Giving them time to express themselves through sketches, doodling, and colouring, would have a huge impact on their emotional state, and would lay out the path to acceptance and happiness. 

Focus on wisdom 

Over the years, schooling has primarily focused on learning, followed by judging how well a child has ‘learned’. However, if a child knows how knowledge can be used, it becomes more relevant and interesting. After seeing the impact that the pandemic has had, it has become even important to inculcate wisdom in children, and not just knowledge. While learning is important, going forward teachers will need to focus on imparting wisdom, and this wisdom will equip children to face the challenges going ahead. 

Compassion is the key

Most of us live in a shell, cushioned away from the harsh realities that some people face. A lot of us did now even know the true meaning of compassion till the pandemic hit us. Over the last few months, people have helped strangers, stood up for each other, cried for people they didn’t know. And yes, compassion has been redefined. Once schools resume, teaching children to be compassionate must take the forefront. It will be important to educate the heart going forward and not just the mind. Compassionate children will make compassionate adults and that I the need of the hour. For this, teachers and administrators will have to be compassionate. 

Rightly so, schooling has to be redefined, schools have to go beyond being just institutions and become places that have a heart. 

 

Author: Latika Sakhuja & Sitender Sehrawat 

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