By Shah Faesal
We are just three days away from that beautiful moment when all schools shall reopen after three-months long winter break. The moment when after three months of separation, our children shall be back with us, when our empty school-compounds shall come alive again. It is a great feeling.
This winter by not availing vacations while you demonstrated a great sense of sacrifice and taught children in Super 50 centers across the valley, we still could not perhaps reach out to innumerable children from elementary classes in Kashmir. It must have been a period of complete academic quiescence, particularly for the children of poor people who could not afford private tuition even. That way 1st March is the day when poorest of the poor shall also find back their knowledge-spring and come to drink of it. It is joy all over.
But while we celebrate going back to school, we must make sure that we give children also reasons to celebrate this return.
First week let’s create an air of festivity in our schools. Let’s break the ice. Pass on a message that first three days it will be more play, more fun and less studies. First three days we make small groups of children and they will share the winter experiences. Let them write small paragraphs on memories of the winter. In a language of their choice.
First three days let them paint and draw. Let them sing songs of spring. Let them organise a skit, write poetry, do a field activity on science, meet an interact with the oldest man and woman of the village, visit a panchayat, go on a two mile walk to woods.
Let’s start with reviving our friendships with the children. Do a round of introduction. Organise one to one counselling with students, each child getting around 10 minutes: talk to them, listen to their difficulties, their traumas their pain. Reassure them.
There must be children who lost their parents or a sibling during the months gone by. Some must have been unwell. Share their agony. Bless them.
There must be children who left their books in December and will touch them again on 1st March. Tell them not to worry. Give them hope.
Share your dreams with the children. Your vision of the school. Your vision of the world. Let the children speak. Listen to their aspirations. Tell them times have changed. Make them feel that you have grown as a teacher while the children have grown up too. It is a new class for most of them, respect their egos. Don’t treat them the way you treated them last year.
Friends, you remember we have declared 2016 as a year of expressions. Let’s talk to each other. Let’s revive an atmosphere of friendships, warmth, fun, knowledge and dreams in our schools. Let’s make a new beginning on 1st of March.
(This letter first appeared on the Director Education Shah Faesal’s Facebook page.)