I remember waking up to a very tense morning. Everyone in my house was sitting in front of the T.V. with their eyes glued to the screen. They were also discussing about a worldwide pandemic and some contagious illness being caused by a deadly virus, the COVID-19.
Little did I know that this virus was going to change all our lives intensely. Soon, all the schools were closed and so were the shops. The house help stopped coming and we were not allowed to step out of our homes. Even if we did, wearing a mask and gloves became compulsory. Hand washing frequently was a must for all of us. Then I learnt this new word called ‘Social Distancing.’ Sure it sounded very sophisticated to me, though maintaining it wasn’t too much fun.
And then I was introduced to the most peculiar of all ideas- the e-school. “What was it anyway?” I thought to myself. Online schools, as I know now, are virtual schools that come to you instead of you going to them. Honestly, it was still quite a hazy concept to me. After all, how can a school so big as mine come to you? I was also told that in online schooling no one goes anywhere. The teachers teach from their homes and the students study from theirs. Your text books and note books are delivered at your door step by a vendor and all you ever need in this process is a mere laptop, tablet or an advanced phone. A few simple apps with a lot of complicated algorithms do the rest.
My mind was spinning by now. Clearly it was a lot to process and sounded anything but fun. No seeing friends? No jumping on the trampoline? No running around in the fresh green grass on the playground? And what about chit-chatting with my best friends during break-time?
With many such questions in mind and very little hope in my heart I sat down for my first online class only to find that it wasn’t so bad after all! I could see my friends on the laptop screen, hear their voices and even wave at them. It was just like being in a real classroom with my teachers and friends, except that we had to be more disciplined and wait for our turn patiently before we spoke.
“Wait. Did that also mean no written exams and only oral ones??” I was thinking to myself. Yes, such hopeful thoughts cross my mind every now and then but sure enough they are negated ruthlessly most of the times. As what followed next was quite the opposite. We students were being “assignment- logged” with worksheets. Online exams were also on their way. I soon started fretting about it all. “How on earth am I suppose to keep up?!” — a frantic thought kept occurring to me. But soon I realized that it was for our own good and keeping pace did not seem like a big problem anymore. After all, one needs to be self-driven in virtual schooling.
Although my experience with an online school is no match to the real one, it is important that I learn to adjust my life as a student around this new concept. I have come to realize, this could be the new normal for a very long time.