The lockdown, has proved to be, more than anything else, a ‘lockup’ of the free spirit of young children and adolescents, who, till six months back, were oblivious of this term. Today the term lockdown has become an everyday word – the ‘new normal’. This unprecedented disruption has adversely affected the emotional well-being of all generations, more so of the very young, who are active by nature. For students in their teens, socialisation is an integral part of their daily life and friends their safety net. In the absence of face to face contact with their friends, they are facing emotional upheaval. As someone who interacts with students on a daily basis, I wonder how the lockdown is affecting their physical, mental and emotional health.
Educators are reaching out to all students possible, overcoming challenges of technology to extend academic support. Schools are doing their best to disseminate knowledge and skills so that this academic session is not declared as a ‘ Null Year’. Are educators, as mentors and facilitators doing enough, by delivering content in the best possible manner? Is using technology to extend learning, the real role of a teacher? Ask any teacher and she will tell you that the best part of teaching is motivating and supporting students, to become confident and good human beings.
Teachers need to assume a larger role
Today, these young learners and adolescents, whose future has been entrusted to us by their parents, find themselves in a distressing situation. Probably for the first time, they find their parents discussing dire financial situation and uncertainty in low voices. The anxiety gets transferred to the children, who have no understanding or coping mechanism. When they find their parents not going to work, they fear as to how and from where the money would come. But, I am sure that these young ones do understand one thing clearly, that this is not the time to add to their parents’ worries, so they keep all these questions to themselves.
Educators, are already putting their heart and soul into making this period of lockdown an engaging one through online sessions. More important than any academics or activity at this point of time, is to talk to these young ones who, are isolated and have no friends or extended family to share these apprehensions with. We should talk to them, listen to their fears and make them understand that this too shall pass. Have a conversation with them about how they could extend support to their parents during such challenging times, answer their queries and stimulate them to speak about their fears. Talk to them about adjustment, empathy and caring. If we look at the positives of this situation, there could not be a better time to impart valuable life lessons to this young generation, to imbibe an empathetic and peaceful perspective on life.
Ms. Urvashi Kakkar
Amity International School