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Pune: Among the many perils of online teaching, mental health has been at the forefront and teachers fear the problems are increasing day by day.
They have received calls from parents who share that their wards, even those in the primary section, are losing interest in any activity and attending the online class has become a mere formality with the live screen and one-way communication.
Parents have complained that their children have lost interest in extracurricular activities and feel lazy to attend extra skill coaching sessions. Students’ communication skills are also a big concern, teachers said.
Educator Sheetal Parmar said the past two years have been difficult for the children and the effects are evident for them. The teaching community is experiencing drastic changes in children and the most important is that of mental health.
“We get calls from parents and a common complaint is that their children lack interest in anything they do. Surely the studies have taken a back seat, so parents are trying to engage their kids in other activities, but kids are clearly refusing to try new things,” Parmar added.
Last year’s lockdown and online schooling kept children within the four walls of their homes and outdoor activities were also restricted. The teachers felt that after the students started attending the schools in the last two months, they could experience a major change in themselves.
“The use of electronic devices is more for entertainment than for studies and parents have complained that their pupils have become addicted to the use of smartphones,” said head teacher Arun Raut of the Velhe school. zilla parishad.
Bhukum Sanskriti School Principal Damini Joshi said they are extremely mindful of the mental well-being of their students.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have been keeping tabs on any student who is showing unusual behavior or signs. Our teachers speak to students and parents separately. In addition, our dedicated team of counselors work regularly with students and parents. Most importantly, besides academics, we have given a boost to specially designed extracurricular activities that can keep students engaged in the online mode. »
Orbis school principal Nalini Samuel said teaching online has been a difficult experience for students. Feelings of alienation and isolation are common, and lack of motivation has become a very real problem among them.
The stimulation they were used to in the classroom is missing, and the connection with classmates and teachers that kept them energized and excited is lost in a flat screen and distant voices, she added.
“Although it is the best alternative in the current situation, the comfort that a school routine brings and the possibility of exchanging experiences and learning are sorely lacking. Even communicating has become a chore for them as they miss human contact and are more comfortable with devices than people. Teachers believe that getting our children back into a classroom situation when things normalize will take time, energy and a lot of patience,” she added.
The only silver lining to the pandemic cloud has been the recognition of the importance of a healthy mind for adults and children, said Garima Sawlani, principal of Orchids The International School in Kharadi.
Separated from the traditional social setting for almost two years now, students as young as those in the first cycle of elementary school are confronted with problems of attention, discipline, confidence and social adjustment.
“There is a tremendous increase in requests from parents to discuss these issues with school counsellors. We have always prioritized the well-being of our children, both physical and mental. We strive to create a safe and friendly environment for our community to be aware and considerate of issues in the online age. Being open and more communicative about mental issues can lift us out of this metaphorical whirlwind into a brighter day,” she added.