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Being A Teen Is Hard! A Mom Shares A Heartfelt Note On Online Schooling

Posted: May 29, 2020

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With online schooling becoming the new ‘normal’, due to the covid-19 pandemic, parents need to have empathy – for teens and their teachers too!

A new phase in life began today for me and my 13-year old boy. He attended his first day of ‘online School’; not just some stand-alone class, but the full-fledged school as a ninth-grader.

The timetable shows me 4 periods a day, 45 min each, with 15 min breaks after every period.

Here are my thoughts so far on online schooling.

Online schooling might just work…when well planned

Being one of those parents, who restricts the child’s screen time to as minimal as possible, I am actually happy with this arrangement for now. I was more concerned about his evening playtime and our lunchtime together (given that he is actually home!) being eroded.

I hope that this 8.30 AM – 1.30 PM schedule will ensure that there is discipline, all the while providing room for other activities. I think this might work. We can make it work!

Communication is essential

I am impressed with the way his school communicates with parents through circulars on the parents portal. Yes, this means a lot more work for parents but that’s expected anyway! 

Remember, being a teen is hard

Being a teen is hard enough. Being a teen during times of Corona is harder. Being a teen guinea pig for full-fledged online schooling is probably the toughest. The charm of teen school – friendships, going out together, roaming around together etc. have all been snatched away.

So as parents, I think we have an added responsibility of hearing them out, encouraging conversations, nudging them to stay in touch with friends and maintain healthy friendships/social connections.

Don’t shy away from sexuality education

Sexuality education cannot be a choice anymore, given that these children are going to have Internet all through the day and are free to use it as well! I hope parents of every single preteen and teen realize and understand. The lack of this understanding would only lead to helicopter parenting, hovering over the child all the time and eroding any semblance of personal space.

I am glad that there was a mention of students respecting the online privacy of fellow students in the school guidelines. For those who still find it embarrassing to broach this subject, there are workshops conducted by NGOs for teens.

Don’t hover

I do hear several cases of parents sitting around for the online classroom sessions. While the intention might be good, just to monitor the child in the initial days, we also need to understand that it is extremely embarrassing and pressurising for a teacher.

Teachers are dealing with a very difficult, steep learning curve themselves, I feel parents should cut them some slack. If one is worried about tech hiccups, trust me, the younger generation is way better than us when it comes to adapting to new tech!

Respect the teacher’s private space

As parents, we should also learn to respect and teach our children to respect teachers’ private space. No messaging them after 4 p.m or before 8 a.m, unless it is an absolutely burning priority.

So, on the first morning of online school, I readied the boy and got him seated by 8 15 am. I was waiting around for some correspondence as it was Day 1. At 8 25 AM, his teacher messaged the class – “Good morning students. Your first class today will be History.”

As I got ready to leave the room, the kiddo exclaimed, “What can be a better way to start my new school year than with my favourite subject!”

Fingers Crossed!

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