School Education, Parent Approach and the Pandemic
As a child, we remember our parents doing the school pick-and-drop duties, making a dash for their work and post school hours squeezing in time to take us for extra-curricular activities too. Those were the years, we were all literally torn-apart between managing our time-commitments and our sanity. While we did enjoy doing those years as a family, where our K-12 years, flew away, we don’t quite remember. Maybe they went completing the classwork that was pending for weeks, or got lost while we as a family were running from one school to another activity centre. Life was like a timetable. Marks that we got were the measure of respect that we earned from academicians and could flaunt amongst our social circle to seek attention.
Life went on like this and even without realising it, we began taking stress, for our every win, we gloated and for every miss we got depressed. In short, we began playing with our mental health—yes it was a lot of fun.
As years rolled by, with our too kids, we began setting benchmarks—they better be better than us! ECA has become a must, excellent marks a must too, and goes without saying the kind of pressure we put on them for maintaining good behaviour, manners, talent harvesting, reading etc. Yes, we are putting too much pressure, without realising that our own children are reeling under it.
But then, all of a sudden a virus came to our rescue. The world called it COVID 19. And the world changed overnight. We had been caged in our homes, no jobs to go to, no school to attend and outdoor extra-curricular stood stalled. Our life was now confined to the four walls of our home. And our home had multiple virtual offices, a full-fledged school, food to share and time to spend together. At first, many parents were mad at the thought that our children are not receiving the right education, his year is getting wasted, and that his screen-time is un-monitored. Yes COVID 19 did play with our mental health too, but maybe to only teach us a lesson in return. And having gotten played by the virus, we realised the blessings that it has brought us.
We have suddenly started feeling more flexible in meeting timelines. With no physical school to rush to, we now pick things at our pace. We are getting responsible about time management, rather than getting compulsive about meeting timelines. We are still attending virtual extra-curricular activities over the laptops. Most of the times, these activities are organised by the school itself and we just have to login to our secure classrooms. It’s also a great opportunity for those children, who were home-schooled for various reasons, or children with disabilities who were not allowed to attend regular classes. We are all attending the same classes, receiving the same education and making our society more inclusive.
Also parents like me are now more empowered in our role as mentor to our young ones. We are taking active participation in their curriculum, monitoring progress and motivating them for class participation. And while our children receive all this, they are safely tucked in the comfort of our homes.
And look at the oyster benefits that it brings. My child has fewer distraction, no bullying, no unhealthy competition—as no comparison. No sick days, really as even if they are under the weather, they can continue their learning from home.
Also research suggests that although children may not see classmates daily, they end up forming better connections with the people with whom they interact regularly. Additionally, virtual schools offer more one-on-one time with instructors, which can enhance the learning experience.
I stand for the virtual schooling even after the pandemic is over and am indebted to technology that allows our education experience to be seamless.
--Shekhar Mehta, Bangalore
a parent, whose child goes to a school running on Advantage IN-BIOT