Across Bengaluru, students are returning to campuses now coping with the fallout of COVID-19. They are eager to recapture as much of the lost experience as they can and to reconnect with each other and the staff and faculty members who teach them. They want to talk about what they are feeling as they start this unusual academic year. At our Centre, the first few days have been filled with many such conversations.
During one such talk, Ilham a 9th-grade student expressed her feelings about the pandemic challenges and the way it is playing out both for her and her family. She told us about the doubts she felt over the months about returning to studies and her worry about not being able to go to school and attend tutorials at Sackhumvit Centre. With her father out of a job and mounting rents and other expenses, her dream to be a lecturer in a college was fast fading. Now, however, two weeks after her arrival we see a happy Ilham chatting about. Although money concerns still continue she is relieved to return to the academic sessions. We connected with several other students to discuss the present crisis. Would it be too much work and backlog especially for the 9th and 10 graders? With final exams and little preparation and an entire year wiped out, students were nervous coping with an entire load of the syllabus. Such conversations suggest that beneath the turmoil that COVID-19 has caused for students a vast number of students are tremendously glad to be back even as they have to deal with the new circumstances of school/Centre life pandemic-style. They are eager to take up the lessons and excited to learn the Sackhumvit way. For us, the teachers and staff we have come back with a greater appreciation of life as a whole. Our exile from work reminded us of the extraordinary value of those aspects of what Sackhumvit Trust offers. In general, the students and staff are happy to resume their daily work. We are pushing our students to think hard, write clearly and use their imaginations and cope with life’s challenges. Teaching and learning feel more precious and more important than ever. Covid 19 has taxed friendship which is very important to foster academic success. We have students from 28 different schools attending our lessons on a daily basis. And as friendships are renewed and communities are forged, learning will go on. We are yet to welcome our junior students and are concerned about how they are coping with little access to structured learning and dealing with daily pressures.