Author: Abhinaya, Bhumi Fellow

As schools reopened across the state, many classrooms came with their own challenges – mine included. While solutions are not impossible to achieve, it is important to understand how to navigate these different challenges. More importantly – how do we do it together? 

As schools reopened across the state, many classrooms came with their own challenges – mine included. While solutions are not impossible to achieve, it is important to understand how to navigate these different challenges. More importantly – how do we do it together?

During the pandemic, there was a solid effort from the children to be part of online learning. The children and I would interact for about 2 hours a day, while they knew no classroom outside of their own homes. But coming back to school meant that we had to get to know each other all over again, that too in a whole new space.  There were a few new children as well that I had to get to know. Even for the children I thought I knew, I realized I had a lot more to learn about them.

The children were on different learning levels and had different challenges. They would sometimes fight with their peers and have angry outbursts. Somedays, small things would cause chaos. On other days, the gloomy weather would not help with keeping the spirits high. On a particularly draining day, I decided to be honest with them and ask for their support directly. I needed their help in converting this room into our own classroom.

What followed was a collective effort of connecting and reconnecting with each other. We ensured that we shared how we were feeling during our morning meetings or closing circles. For some children, I spoke to them privately about how they were doing at home, and they opened up to me – with time. I did care about my children – but to show them that I cared made a huge difference. It was not a one-way process in the least. They also took interest in my wellbeing and made an effort to get to know me better. 

Being around my children every day helped me realize a few things that I may not have known through a screen. Rohan* loves being in charge and going around the classroom. Gautam* loves to help out his peers with classwork. Salma* has questions that she doesn’t hesitate to ask, while Saloni* is happy to be in her own corner. The differences are stark, but they make up our classroom full of young learners, ready to take on the world.

Now, our classroom is a strong source of energy for me. We eat together, laugh together, and even reflect together. We make sure we support each other and reinforce empathy and kindness at all times. It may have taken us a minute, but we are connecting once again.

For children coming from underprivileged backgrounds, education is the only way to secure their futures. It helps them identify their voice and create the future of their dreams. If you’re passionate about driving change through education, register here: http://fellowship.bhumi.ngo/

#BhumiFellowship #Bhumi

Abhinaya is a lawyer by education, who is interested in all things policy, art, history and culture. Outside of her classroom, you can find her looking up random facts about things that intrigue her.

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