The ‘Back To School’ Season!

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‘Back To School’; in the twelve years of my school life, I’ve witnessed reactions to the phrase ranging from excited countdowns and eager smiles to bored faces and sulky expressions. I, for one, belonged to the former crowd. The ‘Back to School’ banners everywhere called for a good old back to school shopping experience, the temptation of which I often found difficult to resist as an elementary school student. Bags, textbooks, notebooks, stationery, uniforms, shoes, lunch boxes, water bottles… and the few necessities lengthen into a childish wish-list.

There usually existed a dilemma with each item to buy, a debate with parents, an important decision to make. Shoulder or trolley school bag? Gel pen or fountain pen? Coloured pencils in a pack of twelve or twenty-four? Plain or patterned adhesive plastic book covers? I, clearly too immersed in keeping the newness of everything intact, fussed over ensuring no corner of a book was curved and there were no air bubbles in the cover or creases in the cartoon character themed labels, which too were carefully selected. As much of a spoiled brat as I sound like now, I failed to understand why kids were not fond of school. Who wouldn’t want to catch up with their friends after a long holiday and be thrilled about being senior to one more grade? Was it just because of waking up early morning? This was the one thing that remained unchanged in the transition to high school while the ‘back-to-school’ enthusiasm took on different grounds.

With just a little more self-claimed sense pertaining to my eighteen year old version, I see why ‘back-to-school’ may not have been every child’s sweet bliss. Academic pressure, fear of failure, social anxiety, worry about being bullied; any one is enough to put off a child’s interest in going back to school. Some parents, despite luring children with all the materialistic things into enjoying school, do not help much by launching strict routine orders with inflexible bedtime curfews, restricted playtime and prolonged study sessions straight away, without considering that the sudden shift may stress out children who need time to once again comfortably settle in after a long break.

Perhaps kids would be more motivated about school if dinner table conversations revolved around whether they enjoyed lunch at school, liked their new teachers and sharing stories told by friends, old and new alike, or relating incidents that might have happened instead of discussing the average score on the diagnostic tests on the first day of school. Now that would make the ‘back to school’ season more cheerful, wouldn’t it?

While I’m aware that there is a highly concerning number of children around us who are unable to relish the luxury of a normal school life that you and I are fortunate enough to have had, and that it is our duty to extend efforts in aiding the less privileged children to experience the same, lets also work at making ‘back-to-school’ a more content and productive time for everyone. After all, it only comes once a year; enjoy it while it lasts because just a few weeks into the new term, most of us are already awaiting the following vacations.

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