Seema Negi, Principal, Sanjeevani World School, Mumbai calls to use lockdown productively

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Seema Negi, Principal, Sanjeevani World School, Mumbai

In the wake of one morning, all of a sudden, the morning wasn’t one of the usual rigmarole. Suddenly people were asked to cover their mouths, suddenly people were being made aware of hygiene, suddenly people were asked to stay indoors and suddenly the term ‘social distancing’ spoke to humanity loud and clear. 

Mankind across the globe is facing a crisis; a catastrophe! From ‘panic-buying’, ‘work from home’ to ‘doomsday’ these are fears that have gripped many hearts across the hemispheres. Students are anxious about examinations, parents concerned about childrens’ academic progress and the biggest question causing havoc is “What will kids do at home all day?” While the working class is anxious about how to get going with ‘work from home’, businessmen entrepreneurs worried about how they would sustain their business, and not to forget the daily labourers, for provisions to make it through the day.

These have left many minds cause to think, have we as humans gone wrong somewhere? Has humanity failed? Have we as mankind lived lives erroneously and now we need to mend our ways? Vivid questions are many racing through hearts, right from a child to senior citizens. Amidst all the chaos, some feel, nothing could touch them, no disease could harm them, and no harm could befall them. Medical experts and government bodies have given safety guidelines to follow; yet these are the ‘thick-headed’, ‘know-it-all’ beings that go about doing everything they aren’t supposed to do, especially in dire times like these. 

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And then the day came we were separated from the lifeline of our school; our students, the school indeed looked lifeless, but we, Team Sanjeevani were determined to flip the situation and make it the most interesting one. It all started with change in the mindset and extraordinary support from the parent fraternity through PTA members. So, the work began and we decided to become clean slate to ULEARN, RELEARN, LEARN….the process is still going on.

The first challenge was uncertainty….will it be days, weeks or months we were not sure. The pertinent question was how can we take this current global situation into our stride and not let the learning get hampered? What we as educators need to do? The answer was very simple. Take the resources available to you and make good use out of it. It’s the world of technology, the world of digitalization. All across the globe, great institutes provide distance education through online and offline learning. Though, at first we tried we failed, we tried again and the wheel of learning and mastering the new skills started.

But for us apart from taking care of academics, keeping a check on the emotional quotient of our learners was important. We took to technological platforms, making use of all the resources available, like Google Classroom, Google Hangout, Zoom, shared presentations, videos to reach our learners; at the same time we ensured to make WE CONNECT videos, by class teachers for their students. We connect videos became students delight, we got overwhelming response from the parents, small children even kissed and hugged the screen, while the teacher was talking to them.  Feedback from parents made us realize it’s neither the white board nor the black board, but the teachers who can create magic. 

Academically speaking, we’ve been putting up videos every alternate day, related to our curriculum to make sure that the time and opportunities we have don’t go to waste. In times like these we have to find a way out rather than sit around with nothing to do. This is also a great way for our students to learn about time management which will help them in their future endeavors. While curriculum is going on smoothly, but still our priority is the mental wellbeing of our children, we are trying to reach out to our students as much as we can.

Today, Coronavirus  dominates the news. India is under strict lockdown period. It has been classified as a pandemic. Extreme actions are being taken by the government to contain the spread of this disease. It has driven the stock market down. It’s now a political dialogue. It has affected commerce, entertainment, travel, sports and almost everything. 

The current situation has definitely created panic. So what are some of the practical steps we need to take in the face of the current pandemic?

  1. We should be more diligent than usual about washing our hands, wiping them off with sanitizers and avoid touching faces after touching public facilities.
  2. We should minimize exposure to large crowds when practical.
  3. We may have to cut down on our entertainment activities, avoid/limit unnecessary travel.
  4. Carry on with normal lives; but simply need to use common sense.
  5. Medical experts have advised that we need to keep 3- feet distance from others when in public.
  6. Eat at home more than ordering from restaurants.
  7. If we experience flu-like symptoms, it’s advisable to consult a doctor.

Apart from these, there are two ‘P’s that are extremes to be avoided:

  1. Presumption: We need to act with prudence and not presumption. Presuming it won’t affect you, is somewhere a sign that pride is exercising in you. And pride leads to downfall. Therefore it is rightly said, “Better late than never; bettersafe than sick!”
  2. Panic: Panic is fear and fear is the absence of faith. Having faith in our medical experts, doctors including the government will in many ways take care of panic. Above all have faith in God. God has given each one of us a ‘spirit of boldness and not fear’. 

So remember, 

  1. Exercise prudence and common sense.
  2. Seek God.
  3. Trust in Faculties (Doctors, Government, and God).

Finally, in conclusion, I would like to add a simple yet profound analogy f life. The Moon has taught us that ‘It’s okay to go through phases’. And the Sun has taught us, ‘no matter how many times we go down, keep rising!’ With this I end it by saying, ‘We shall overcome!’

At the end, let me share what we got in return…it’s priceless and will be treasured for years to come and it will make us remember TOGETHER WE CAN.

(Seema Negi, Principal, Sanjeevani World School)

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