Muscat: Summer vacations have concluded for students; it is time for a new academic year.
New books, bags, pens and pencils have been sorted, and parents have been equally busy with the preparations. While parents have their aspirations for their children, the students look forward to catching up with classmates and schoolmates to update on their experiences during the summer vacation.
As teachers are all set to receive their students, they have also been busy preparing to receive the children on Tuesday, August 29, while fine-tuning their lesson plans.
More than 5,000 new teachers have joined the force this academic year, and this group has also been waiting in anticipation. Of the total number of new teachers appointed by the Ministry of Education, 13 per cent are male teachers, and 87 per cent are females.
These teachers will see their students on Tuesday for the first time and thus begin their careers, which can be highly significant for young students.
As the parents make last-minute purchases, the shops and hypermarkets have lined up with school stationaries and uniforms of different colours.
For parents sending their young ones to school for the first time, the first week could be with traces of separation anxiety. One of the parents' concerns is transportation.
Ali al Ghafri, a Sheikh Hamdan Government Schoolteacher in Maabela, said the first day was pleasant as teachers met with each other and the Headmaster about the annual plan and the timetable for the teachers.
"We met the new teachers, and we could see the excitement and their enthusiasm. And we are looking forward to meeting the students on August 29. On Monday, the teachers will prepare for the book distribution, which will be handed over on Tuesday as students arrive for the first day. Students will also be allocated their new classrooms on the first day of school," said Al Ghafri, who has been teaching the English language for 30 years and has also enjoyed the experience of teaching with professionals from different parts of the world.
The teachers also discussed on Sunday with their subject heads which classes they were keen to teach.
"We will take about a month to get the flow going. Our main focus on the first day will be to orient students on identifying their buses depending on their locations. Some parents will also come to check if there is any change in school placements as students are admitted as per their respective localities. So if any new schools have come up, they would be shifted there to save time and energy." "Plan well from the beginning of the year so they feel good at the end of each semester. Students should make it a habit to consume healthy food. We see them sometimes faint during the assembly, so parents should ensure their children have breakfast. The school is always stressing on nutritious food intake," Al Ghafri pointed out.
He said there is a school canteen, but it is also a good idea to bring food from home.
A factor that is on the mind of the parents and teachers is the safety on the bus.
"Each day, the teachers will take turns to be present for the bus duty to direct the students to be dropped in their homes. This is to ensure everyone is back home." From first to fifth grades, follow the co-educational system, and they can await some special treats and gifts from teachers on Tuesday to make their first day back in school special.