This academic year is very crucial. Teachers have to work doubly to compensate the campus loss and bring back students on the right trajectory.
I had this recent conversation with one of my students about his craving for reopening of schools. He sounded eager and was all set to break the academic jinx with his active participation.
“I’ll meet my friends again,” he promptly addressed my query.
The remark invoked JJ Watt: ‘What I remember most about high school are the memories I created with my friends.’
Due to emotions, my student struggled to describe his feelings about school reopening: “I’ll attend morning assembly, speak on stage, take part in drills, wear new uniform, new shoes, rub oil in my hair, comb them, and above all I will see my teachers again face to face. I will greet them, talk to them. I missed them a lot.”
For teachers, the moment is equally emotional. We missed morning assemblies. Seeing students beautifully queued in front of me has been a paradise vision that appears nowhere else outside schools.
My student wanted to speak more, but he could not. His eyes were moist. I realized the gravity of his loss. I saw glimmer in his eyes. It stunned me. He badly waited for March — the spring of school life in Kashmir.
“The most missed blessing of school is morning get-together,” he said.
The remark incited my imagination of school life. Standing up and hosting the morning assembly has been the most beautiful part of my school life.
We remember the friends we make during our schooling. We remember the teachers who teach us. We remember most of the episodes that occur in our schools. These memories delight us in our bad days. They console us in our worries.
School is not a name of a building in which students are taught, it’s a sacred institution where intellectual developments begin. Strangers become friends. Civilization commences and the fates of the country are scribed. It’s a home for both teachers and students. Former works as a parental figure taking care of the latter as his/her own children. Behaviors are modified and students are prepared for the life ahead. It’s taught in school as how to deal with other institutes of society. And that’s why great rulers have been taught how to rule in schools.
In Kashmir, however, schools have reopened after a pretty long gap. Although it did not stop learning as students have been taught at other possible places but none could replace schools. Schools have their own character and charm. This makes one realize why students craved for school reopening.
To celebrate the campus revival, government has ordered to observe the first week of March as a week of happiness.
This is a need of an hour. These non-schooling years have stressed students psychologically and emotionally. It would be an adaptation week for the students. They’ll be readjusting themselves in the school atmosphere and bring back their enthusiasm and excitement.
Teachers should allow them to talk to their classmates, allow them to play in the campus, let them have lunch together keeping mandatory precautions in mind and allow them share their experience of non-schooling in comparison to schooling time.
But while a week is enough for them to get back to their normal state, this academic year is very crucial. Covid has already changed various things, new challenges have born and competitions have become very tough.
And therefore, teachers have to work doubly. The loss is to be compensated. Students are to be brought back on the right trajectory. Their spirits are to be boosted. They’re to be reintroduced to the lessons they had forgotten.
“Only memories of my school did help me survive this epidemic,” my student told me.
“I had many friends in my school who had encouraged me to continue my studies. I was fed up of studies and wanted to quit, seeing no future ahead. But my friends advised me to go on. I’m happy that finally schools reopened.”
This excitement and expectation makes this year quite crucial. And this is where teachers have to step up to shape the lives of their students.