6th February 2022

Covid has forced one and all to pause and reflect.

With the new Covid variant making its appearance amidst us, the question looms large: should the schools reopen now? If not now, when? This question leads to more questions-if the government opens schools and makes attendance mandatory, will parents feel safe confident enough to send their children to the schools? Or, a choice will be given to parents and the hybrid learning system will continue where the teachers are desperately trying to do justice to the students present in the physical space and to the students learning on line, all the same time?
Covid has forced one and all to pause and reflect. In a way, it was the reboot the world needed. But whether this reboot comes with an upgrade or not, is up to us ... and given our diverse views on education, this is an uphill task.
Maybe, it’s a good time to re-learn, re-think and re-draw everything and make a fresh start. Is that possible? Re-building is certainly possible and some new structures can evolve in the new world.
Experts believe we need our children to be actively involved in this process of rebuilding. What can be our role as parents, educators and of the entire ecosystem in this process? In my view, taking some of the following steps will help:


– children need to be assured that we are here for them. That we would make the world a safe place for them to learn and grow. Communicate this assurance vocally and repeatedly. We have the same goal and we will work very sincerely towards it. What was assumed earlier has to be spelt out today and that too, reassuringly.


- Covid has brought into focus the lapses of our lifestyles and our misplaced priorities. This requires introspection. The expectations from the management and teachers have increased that they will perform due diligence in preparing for reopening and these have to be met head on. Children will need to experience trust and confidence on the authorities.


- the teachers have to recognize themselves as the biggest collaborators at this point more than ever before...collaborating with the parents towards the learning of the child and collaborating with the management to bring about changes in the policies. Teachers will face a lot of intervention from parents, as the parent child bond has strengthened immensely due to the time spent together. Hence, they will have to bring the parents onboard their larger view for their child and explain why the particular activity/assignment is important. This will require a new level of patience, tolerance and skills of diplomacy. Are our teaching staff up to it?


- parents need to accept that they have a greater role to play in their child's lives now and stop outsourcing every part of parenting to the school or tuitions or maids or schooling apps. They have to be accepting of the fact that they are not alone in this mess and that the only way forward is together without blaming others for not meeting their expectations.


- as a collective generation, every age and every person left alive by COVID needs to take responsibility to re build and play their part in the words of Dr Daisaku Ikeda (founder of Soka Education) ‘raise by praise.’
This does not mean to ignore the wrongs but just to highlight the rights... It doesn't matter if you are an educator or a student, or none of these, if you see learning, tell them they are rebuilding, even if it may seem like a very simple and miniscule activity.
Together, everyone is an influencer! This resonates with the ethos of Helen O’ Grady wherein in each class, teachers call out each and every child-encouraging those who are choosing to make an effort and motivating those who are slacking. All are seen, recognized and heard. And you see, as a result, the blossoming of talent and nurturing of each child’s potential.

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