Over the past few months the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in our day-to day lives, our society and the world at large. One of the major repercussions has been the abrupt halt in the learning process of thousands of children across the globe. Implementing social -distancing measures has been a logistical nightmare for a vast majority of educational institutes. While many have opted for the safer online teaching route, a few others bravely opened their doors in an attempt to get back to normalcy only to be shut down again with newer cases being reported are the first few days of the re-opening.
As a mother to a 5-year-old, I am as distraught as the scores of other parents who are struggling to balance their work schedules and their child’s learning process via online learning, with some modicum of success.
Having sat with my son for a few of his online sessions, I must admit it is not the best medium especially for the primary levels. From Internet issues, frozen screens, broken sentences, technical glitches, inability of the hyper-active kids to remain seated with full attention to the screen, to ignorant parents talking at high pitch in the background during the session without muting their mics to the struggling, technically-challenged teacher trying to unsuccessfully share her screen with the impatient kids – it has been a bizarre experience for me as an adult and I can imagine it is not easy for the kids as well.
My son misses his uniform, his badge (which he wears with pride), his school bus rides where he exchanged stories , snacks, sweets and much more with his friends , his class-room sessions with his teacher and friends and honestly I miss the anecdotes he shared with me of his day as well.
The hours he spent in school were the only ones where I was assured he was immersed in learning, playing, growing as a person and building lasting relationships, as opposed to the hours at home where I spent pulling my hair out trying to get him off the mobile or away from the TV. Those few hours which were the only ones where I was relieved that my child was having human interaction rather than being glued to a gadget are now sadly lost and thanks to online learning my son now has an additional two hours of screen time with virtual interactions which is definitely not the need of the hour.
Though schools and teachers are making earnest attempts to make online learning successful the old-school me (pun intended) wants to see my son back in an active, buzzing classroom set-up and not struggle with a buffering screen. With the entire world slowing and dangerously inching close to becoming a virtual existence, I, an anxious and worried parent earnestly wishes that this phases ends soon and my son is able to return to school so that he is able to experience the joys of learning in a conducive environment where he will build memories for life.