Education: Normal vs The New Normal

A trip to Wuhan and one bat soup later, life as we knew it changed. Sounds very ominous,

but it’s true. We weren’t allowed to leave our homes, everything got shut down; it felt unreal,

like something you would come across in a history textbook. Everyday activities went

through a change as the principle of Adapt in order to Survive came into play and among

those hit worst by these changes were, of course, students.

Schools underwent a huge change, the shift to an online era. All teaching was done via

platforms such as Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, where teachers and students could

teach and learn in the comfort of their homes.

Online classes had several benefits. Classes could be taken from anywhere, they could be

attended even while traveling. This allowed for flexibility to teachers and students alike.

Resources were easily accessible online. Moreover, recorded material meant greater

flexibility in terms of when the classes were to be taken by the students. At the same time,

classes were less intensive as students did not have to show up at school or a class at a

particular time.

Though this sounds like every student's dream, going to school without having to go to

school, there were drawbacks. Without direct supervision of teachers, students didn’t really

focus during classes and were easily distracted. Screen time increased substantially. Lack of

social contact led to degrading mental health.

The initial excitement of online classes has now faded and fatigue has settled in. It’s not only

schooling that is online, even various classes like drawing, dancing, singing, etc. are all held

online and students barely get a chance to get away from the screens. Going outside for

fresh air was also discouraged due to fear of the virus. All this has led to a decrease in

motivation and an increase in stress.

However, even with so many disadvantages, there is a chance students may find it hard to

transition back into the “normal” style of schooling.

Going back to school and getting used to being around so many people again might be

challenging. After a year and a half of quarantine and house isolation, returning to the

normal lifestyle might be daunting to a few students. It is also the case that offline class

means reduced flexibility. The problem of getting to school and classes on a time-restricted

schedule becomes prevalent again and could increase stress in students.

No matter the cons, students have gotten used to this online situation to an extent that

returning to an offline type of classroom is mentally demanding. However, online schooling

cannot go on forever; teaching is incomplete without the direct touch of a teacher. The only

way to go about this is by opening schools as soon as it’s safe for students, helping them

through these changes, and bringing back the “normal” we grew up with.

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