“Changes are always challenging and feeling a bit nervous is natural. We need to reassure the children about the ‘new normal’ safety measures. It may take a little time for them to get used to their new classroom layout,” she says. Shubha Jose, Indian School Al Ghubra (ISG
ON campus classes have begun after a long gap with Class 12 students attending schools. Students have expressed their excitement to get back to normal school life.
The schools followed strict Covid protocols, maintaining social distancing norms and restricting the number of students in each classroom. They enthusiastically participated in the classroom activities and revelled in the opportunity to interact face-to-face with their teachers and peers.
All staff have taken extreme care to ensure the smooth transition of classes from online to offline taking into consideration the physical, mental as well as emotional well-being of the students.
A senior teacher, Shubha Jose, from Department of English, Indian School Al Ghubra (ISG), says with social distancing measures and other changes, classrooms will become a slightly different place.
“Changes are always challenging and feeling a bit nervous is natural. We need to reassure the children about the ‘new normal’ safety measures. It may take a little time for them to get used to their new classroom layout,” she says.
However, she mentions that most of them are aware of the importance of following safety protocols, and how these help to keep everyone safe.
Another senior teacher at ISG, Rajiba Naushad, is of the view that nothing can replace the satisfaction of face-to-face interaction with students in the classroom.
“A classroom environment,” she says, gives an opportunity for collaborative learning, chance for interacting with other students.
“Online lessons have impacted areas like presentation and leadership skills. Technical glitches and distractions at home also hamper smooth and focused learning. After initial hiccups, online teaching and learning was going on really well; and we all had mastered not just attending regular classes but also conducted examinations, assemblies, competitions programmes virtually and successfully,” she adds.
Shubha is also of the view that it is the responsibility to make sure that the pandemic changes the students for the better.
“They should be able to move ahead with the knowledge that they were able to weather the trickiest of storms, and that we (teachers) are there to help them through the next stage.”
The teachers and students also share the view that they missed several activities from games, sports, and dance and music classes.
“We teachers missed all the fun and excitement involving children in everything we do. The celebration of various festivals, special days like Teachers’ Day, Children’s Day in school have always been a thrilling experience for both students and teachers. Even the important days in the school calendar like Annual Day, Sports Day, School Carnival are often stressful, but, indeed a very satisfying experience for the teacher community,” they added.
Rajiba also feels that it is indeed a wonderful feeling to be back in school. “The halt was so sudden, unexpected and followed by such a dismal phase of isolation, fear and uncertainty. Getting back to school definitely means hope, happiness and the pandemic in its closing phase. However, caution is definitely needed to be heeded. We will take utmost care to ensure the safety of the students at all times.
Dr Nisma Haris, a health and wellness advisor based in Salalah, says that along with reopening of schools, we need to understand that once again our children have to go through an entirely different schedule and it will be no less than a tightrope walk.
“Their eating habits will vary, their physical activity levels will again transform, post Covid social environment in the school, all such parameters will determine their health and in turn their progression towards coping and sustaining in a post Covid world,” she adds.