The trees definitely missed the children too!

In a time when most children in our country are left in the lurch with no schools to go to, we ought to acknowledge our privilege to be able to access schooling online.

Even though, “online school” feels a lot less like school. More like a scene from a dystopian science-fiction novel. The experience of having to stare at a screen and be available for constant scrutiny is overwhelming not just for a child, but for adults too.

While a lot of people consider this as the future we must not shy away from, it simply cannot replace the connection and the warmth of learning in person at school. As the first step in that direction, we now have children coming to school twice or thrice a week. It has already made a world of difference.

There were joyful cries across the groups when the idea was proposed. It’s a surprise that the newspapers did not talk about it — it was louder than the sonic boom heard a few months ago. In some cases, the teachers and students were meeting for the first time. After spending a full year teaching and learning online.

The teachers are fighting a losing battle against football

On the first day, they came to school, it was hard to tell who was happier — the children or the parents. Taking gingerly steps into the campus, the little eyes surveyed the place quietly and carefully for a few nanoseconds. And before you knew it, they were running about flailing their arms like they were greeting the buildings, the stairs, the rooms as well as the air inside that was awaiting their arrival. They scaled the length and breadth of the school taking inventory and ensuring that everything was intact just as they left it a year and a half ago. It was very touching, to say the least. Galloping all over the campus was freedom in flesh and blood.

We realise that there is a whole new dimension to each child that was never available through the screen. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping nothing will jeopardize this joy.

Here is what the children had to say —

An acrostic poem by Anaya
An entry reflecting the excitement of first day at school
by Vaibhav (Grade 4)
Dina’s reflection on the reopening of school