Ready for a new chapter
Teachers on the fun in store for tiny tots on their first day of school
It’s that day of the year again when the new school year starts. Just as excited as the tiny tots going to school for the first time are their teachers, many of whom are waiting to welcome the new students with open arms and big hearts.
In government schools in the state, it has become the norm to celebrate this little big step into the world of primary education with ‘Praveshanotsavams,’ where they gift first graders with sweets and toys and make it a day of fun, stories, songs and games. Many private schools, meanwhile, roll out the red carpet for kindergärtners, with classrooms festooned with bright and shiny streamers, cut outs of the kids’ favourite animated characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and so on.
“We are all set for the big day. We have got 56 new admissions and more will join on the first day,” says Beena TR, a primary school teacher at Government LP School, Ooruttambalam.
S Girijakumari, a teacher at Government LPS, Attingal, has been welcoming students to class one for the last 25 years. She is busy decorating the school with streamers and balloons. In keeping with the green protocol, the tiny tots will get cloth pouches with stationery and a sapling each. More than 60 students will take their first steps into primary education this year at her school. “There is no fall in numbers in our school. In fact, many of the students I taught have enrolled their kids in the same school,” she says.
For Asha TR with 23 years of teaching experience behind her, the excitement hasn’t dimmed. “Gone are the days when the children cry and make a scene. Nowadays, the first day in class one is all about having a good time. In fact, we were given training by Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to handle the kids on the first day,” says Asha, a teacher at Government Upper Primary School, Chala.
On a celebratory mode
The red carpet welcome is no less for young students entering the portals of school in the pre-primary sector.
“It will be a celebratory atmosphere when pre-school reopens on June 5, beginning with a welcome function for the students and their parents in the school auditorium. We teachers introduce ourselves and then take our wards to their classes, each of which will be festooned with bright and shiny streamers, glitter paper and so on,” says pre-primary teacher Mini B Nair at St Thomas School.
The idea behind the elaborate welcome is to create a warm atmosphere, say teachers. “Kids these days are more adept at adapting to new environments. While there are a few who cry and need a few weeks to adjust, most look forward to joining school,” says Bina Vishwanathan, kindergarten-in charge at Christ Nagar School. “There are no lessons taught the first few days as we want the children to settle down first,” adds Bina.“This year I’ll be in charge of a class of 44 children and will be with them for two years until they graduate from pre-primary,” she adds.
Annamol Boban, who teaches class one at St Thomas Residential School, explains that the tears have mostly to do with the new environment. “Class one is a whole new ballgame, now that they are in a proper school atmosphere. It takes a bit of getting used to, especially as there is a bit more to learn; for the first time they have to deal with ‘subjects’ such as English, environmental studies, general knowledge, maths and Malayalam. There’s also the matter of adjusting to a classroom atmosphere and also having different teachers for different subjects as opposed to just one or two in pre-primary,” she says.
No wonder many teachers say that they become mothers to their charges, while in school. Latha Rosha, primary school teacher at Loyola School, says that the accent is on making the children comfortable with their new environment and encouraging them to become partners in the learning experience. “Children now are bold and curious. So learning becomes a sharing experience. Every school year is a new experience and it refreshes me completely. I wait impatiently for the school to reopen as I miss the children,” says Latha.
A sentiment that is echoed by many of the teachers. As Girija likes to put it, she says she is growing younger every year thanks to the children in her care. Mini, who has 27 years experience teaching pre-primary students, says: “I have always tried to create a homely, friendly atmosphere in class so that the children don’t feel out of depth when they first come to school. Inevitably every new batch of students will have a mix of personalities – the shy, the chatty, the sensitive, the hyperactive… So, the first month is always the toughest as it’s a period of adjustment, while the children get used to each other, to their teachers and ayahs and to school life. More than studies it’s about having fun and learning through games, music, art and so on. Most of the kids would have gone to day care previously and so would be comfortable with some kind of group routine. My aim is to instil the values of respect and sharing in the kids under my care.”
Naviya P, a teacher at Sarvodaya School, is one of the few lucky ones for she already knows her charges quite well. “I am looking forward to seeing my students. I really miss them. The system at Sarvodaya is such that a teacher remains the class teacher for the same group of students from class one till four and then another takes over from class five to 10. That way, the teacher-student relationship is strong. Do you know that I have been the class teacher for the same batch of students for the last two years now? I know their strengths and weakness. I know when they are troubled or require extra attention. They are like, no, they are my children. ”
Source: THE HINDU