Last March, the coronavirus outbreak cast its gloomy shadow over the world. Countries went into lockdown, and governments worldwide had to take strict measures to contain the virus. As a result, not only were some parents forced to work from home or were laid off when they couldn’t, but even entertainment venues and events where you might’ve met up with your friends had been shut down or cancelled. Schools had also closed down until further notice and classes were moved online, which meant that you also had to be separated from your classmates.
All of these changes, plus strict orders to stay at home, had probably hit you hard. On the other hand, this outbreak had shown all of us that regardless of race, skin colour, religion, or language, we are all humans facing the same thing. The motto “one love, one family, one world” certainly rings true!
Dealing with Your Feelings
You might be excited to return to school this autumn, after all these months, and to get back to being in class with your peers. But, it’s also understandable if you feel a little scared or worried about this change. If you are, here are some tips to help you cope:
- Talk to an adult: Talking to a parent or a teacher can help calm the nerves that may come with being back in school. It could even make it easier for you to adapt to some of the changes you might have to make, like wearing a mask during the day, which you may fear would be uncomfortable.
- Remind yourself of your role: You might find it difficult to keep a physical distance from your friends and teachers or wear a mask. It might even feel frustrating. But try to remember that you and everyone else at school must work as a team to stop the coronavirus from spreading. Make sure you also continue doing things like washing your hands with soap or using a hand sanitizer and coughing or sneezing into your elbow. These steps won’t only protect you and your classmates, but will also protect the sick and elderly in your communities.
- Be open to change: It might take time for classes to have the same number of students you’re used to, and maybe you will have to do some learning online. But remember, learning can happen anywhere—offline or online, at school or at home. A mix of physical and virtual classes might be the new normal for a while to control classroom sizes, so it’s a good idea to keep an open mind about it. Remind yourself that you can face anything because it’s true, you can!
- Stay in touch: Just because you can’t see your friends in school as often as you used to, it doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch. Online games, social networks, and video chat programmes are a great way to connect and play with your friends and relatives while at home. Just make sure to ask your parents first before going online.
While in class, you can also try suggesting some things you and your teachers can do together to lighten the mood.
- Talking and sharing: Teachers know that each one of you has a different family circumstance. Because of this, you might be able to suggest that they take more time to allow you and your classmates to share your feelings and emotions about everything that is happening.
- Activities between lessons: During classes (physical or virtual) you can ask your teacher to include a few activities between lessons or during breaks. These can consist of physical and mental exercises, quizzes, and group activities like making up rap or mash-up songs to perform in class to help boost everyone’s mood.
Remember, your teachers are on your side. They want you to have the best back-to-school experience, physically and mentally, despite any challenging circumstances. Welcome back to school and have fun!
Dimple Verma is a Doha-based teacher who has lived in Qatar since 2011. She currently teaches English at Birla Public School and has a master’s degree in the subject. She also enjoys imparting activity-based learning during physical and virtual lessons. Mrs Verma is committed to helping students achieve success in the classroom as well as the rest of their lives.