The school buses trundling on the roads, campuses abuzz with the noise one craved to hear, the football and basketball courts finally have company. The teachers and the taught are not victims of internet connectivity and the laptops are resting. The tiffins and water bottles have seen the light of day. And finally, the school fights are not virtual but real.
“Schooling was a habit ingrained since I was 5. The two years of online education was a show stopper in my education. I became lax with my studies since there wasn’t anyone to supervise it. The conceptual understanding of the subject became a far thought when no one in the class was interactive except for the teacher. Coming back, it has been a hassle to adapt to the strenuous timetable of my new routine. I have been having constant thoughts of giving up. The pileup of everything has become too much and I find myself wondering if I should just drop one of the subjects. I can barely understand the concepts that should have been on my tips. And I don’t have time to understand previous material on top of the new ones.” confesses Nehal, a student of class 11 in Amritsar.
So comfort comes with a cost, the cost of becoming lackadaisical. Whilst getting back the bonhomie is joyful, the reality of the timetable is hard hitting. One cannot help but think of the intermittent pop corn and Netflix breaks: “I have dealt with some problems while coming back to the normal offline schedule. In the online classes you didn’t have to write much. Back in school, I find that my writing speed has decreased considerably. Honestly, many of us didn’t pay attention during the online classes. Thanks to that gap, I am struggling to grasp some subjects. This is specially true for Maths,” shares Mehtab Randhawa, a student of class 9 in Chandigarh. This is a common refrain, more so among students in Class XII. Manya, a 12th grader, speaks for many when she says it’s a challenge to understand chapters in Class XII with a basis in the syllabus of Class XI. “Online classes and examinations rendered most of us lazy, thanks to which the doubts we had in eleventh have carried over to class 12. Most of the concepts are intertwined, causing us further confusion.”
The students also missed confidence-building events such as debates, declamations and Olympiads.
There have been problems with the mix of online and offline methods since Covid struck. Teachers should be retrained to create analytical minds and encourage non-linear thinking so that our students are skilled enough to adapt to the rapid changes taking place around them. The role of teachers continues to be vital, and schools should now focus on dealing with these issues in a manner best suited to students. After all, the goal is to get the best out of them.