One segment worst hit due to this pandemic is kids, especially the fraternity of school-going students. During my counseling sessions, I usually ask parents, “what does your child miss the most when she is deprived of regular schooling?” The typical answers are:
- My child misses the laboratory work, without which the learning is not complete.
- The kid misses the one-to-one teaching-learning experience
- The student is missing her part of socializing / the extra-curricular activities in the school
- Children are missing the peer learning
- They are missing group study/sense of competition
In my opinion, all the above answers are not incorrect. However, the most significant vacuum created in a student’s life has a set of entirely different elements. Here are those:
1. Physical Health:
A healthy body is a home for a super healthy mind! When physical activity is compromised, children become lethargic. Since they are getting hooked to the screen time much more than normal, acceptable limits, many students have started complaining of eyesight-related issues. Back pain and spondylitis have irritated quite a few students during the pandemic. Since they are minimally exposed to sunlight, there is a tendency for a drop in Vitamin D, leading to skin diseases and loss of overall body immunity.
2. Team spirit:
The most happening place in a school has always been the sports ground. The sports and drill period brings in physical benefits and teaches many vital life skills to the student. Likewise, the various group assignments, presentations, and exhibition performances instill the value of teamwork. Students might fight a lot when in the playground, but they come close when the game is over. That’s pure love.
What a student gets to learn is this: “You win, only when the team wins!” Accepting defeat even when you played well individually is the character of a real champion. In other words, the mental strength to rise above individual aspirations and victories and embrace group success is one of the biggest life lessons. Students are missing this.
3. Emotional Intelligence
o Every student wants to excel, but not everyone gets to be number one.
o Sometimes, you are not interested in studying a particular subject, but you have no other choice but to be in that class. You can’t mute the teacher!
o A teacher or a colleague scolds you; you feel hurt but decide to stay calm. You take the situation as a challenge.
o You have guests at home, and a happy event is being celebrated. However, your half-yearly examination is going on, and you have to be tucked in isolation and study.
Above are illustrations of situations, which teach a child to manage emotions according to circumstances. When you miss these lessons, you lose a lot.
4. Learn to fail:
The regular class tests, quizzes, games on the field teach so much to a student. School is the first place where a child learns that “You can not always win!” School is where a student learns to accept failure with grace. Learn to rise above setbacks and take defeats in the most sporting manner. These life skills are crucial for any student’s success in professional as well as personal life.
5. Managerial Ability:
Be it the preparation for an inter-school competition or managing a presentation for the daily assembly – a student learns invaluable lessons in managerial skills and decision-making ability.
When you work along with a cohort of a mixed group, you understand that each one of us is different and may bring along a unique point of view to the same situation. Students may not notice this, but they learn to accept differences and respect other’s opinions in school. They learn to move ahead and achieve goals amidst a lot of bottlenecks and challenges.
6. Time Management:
Students studying from home lose on the lesson in time discipline. Most of the students I speak to tell me that they log in to the online class half asleep.
When you do not miss to board that school bus just for being late by a minute, you do not get to know the very essential value of being prompt.
7. Self Esteem:
Getting promoted without appearing for examinations can only bring in a temporary sense of joy. This victory actually cripples the sense of achievement. Working hard throughout the year, running through phases of setbacks and failures, and even then making it to the final destination is what brings in the empowering sense of self-esteem!
Our students are being deprived of the above-illustrated life essentials. Hopefully, the school bell rings soon, anytime now.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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