Tuesday, March 30, 2021

One year of online class!

Wiggling my fingers and saying the prayer….raising my silent hand and unmuting myself, taking the cookie from the cookie jar” (an interactive game played in the online class)… “these are a few of my favourite things of online class” was what my five-year old had to say at her online graduation day at the end of this year’s online academic year. For most students, the 2020-21 academic year will go down in history as a school year sans even single visit to school. The usual school routine of getting the kids ready, packing lunch boxes and dropping them at the school bus pick up point seems to have happened in the distant past which we don’t seem to relate to anymore! Instead, we’ve become complacent (read as lazy!), optic-driven, and adept at an eleventh-hour focus on only what is captured on the webcam! All this has indeed taken a toll on our kids’ attitude and attention towards learning and school, especially the younger kids who find the online format to be a restrictive medium. Frankly, I don’t blame Aadya for her being not-so-enthusiastic about her thrice a week online class. Groggy and yawning through most part of the half-an-hour class, my soon-to-be-six-year-old chatter-box is least bit interactive in class and only unmutes herself after being goaded into answering a question. The only time she shakes herself out of her trance-like state is at the end of the class when she repeatedly wishes her teachers “Bye … see you tomorrow” in her characteristic shrill metallic voice, ending up disturbing her brother who is suffering through his own online class in the next room! That said, we truly commend the efforts of TSA school management and the teachers for their brilliant adaptation to the new format and their sincere efforts in attempting to acquaint the children with the needed math and language concepts albeit through a highly limited medium, while at the same time, ensuring that the screen-time is not too onerous for kids or their parents. We appreciate that the school has indeed managed to cover good ground even with a five-day week of three and half hour’s physical class being replaced with a three-day week of half an hour online class! The school also made sure that the children don’t miss out on special events like talent week or the festival celebrations, all conducted online. Of course nothing can compare to the reserving of a seat in anticipation for a friend boarding the next stop on school bus or vying for the first turn on the slide during the school play hour or admiring a fellow classmate’s new pencil box while making a mental note to convince parents to buy you one or hoping your classmates shares her paneer parathas during lunch hour…all an integral part of the school life that we hope to gain back at least during the second half of next academic year ….fingers crossed really!
While most of our activities are still online or virtual, internet connectivity is the key factor to have a smooth run during one’s online day! What happens if the internet connections snaps…all hell breaks loose, right? A similar situation (though pre-covid times) has been wonderfully captured in Richa Jha’s “The Manic Panic”, illustrated by Mithila Ananth, brought out by the award winning Pickle Yolk books. However, I’m not sure that it is our generation that is obsessed with screen time as featured by Richa Jha, but I believe it’s the other way around! On most days, everyone in the household is shown to be pouring over a device but when the wi-fi is down, everyone gets restless…everyone except the fitness-obsessed grandma and the young girl who tries to get her parents to break free from their devices in her own way. The young girl coaxes her parents into a digital-detox exercise without having to worry about connectivity and internet, with help from her grandma. The parents mirroring what would normally be the reaction of the device obsessed generation reminds me of the Mo Willems narrative in “Don’t let the Pigeon….” series. Read on as the tables turn and it is up to the younger generation to take charge and re-introduce the older generation into a life without devices, if not for at least a day …. with a funny twist in the end as the girl finds herself in her parents’ shoes! The story is also a feel-good satire on how we let technology/internet/devices take over our lives so much so that it’s hard to fathom a day or even a moment without being attached to any device! A quirky little story that reflects the state of almost every other household these days, particularly during the pandemic, and it all falls on that one family member – the anti-device activist to diffuse the “No internet” panic situation at home! We enjoyed the illustrations as they take the story forward and bring forth the myriad different moods of the parents, grandma and the precocious young girl I had bought this book a while ago to only demonstrate to my older one that I’m not the only anti-device activist in the world, and little did I realise that this book will be a big hit with my little one who somehow sees herself in the young girl! Wi-fi or no wi-fi….here’s to more manageable “manic panic” situations at home !

No comments:

Post a Comment