It’s Monday, another start of the week. But very unfortunately, nowhere close to being ordinary for many of my people. There are a few still missing, and nearly a hundred thousand people have evacuated from collapsed homes to live in overcrowded emergency shelters.
Many of these shelters are schools, and many of the evacuees are children and youth in school years. Neither are in any condition to go back to studying in class, so there are going to be no school for some time to come. But unlike me when I was young (I never used to like going to school), the young minds in my homeland are really disappointed and worried that their schooling will be disrupted for an indefinite period of time, only a couple of weeks into the new year.
Maybe they are disappointed that they will not be able to study and play with their new friends.
Maybe they are worried that they will fall behind but will not have enough time to catch up.
But I think that studies do not have to be put on hold just because there are no blackboards or textbooks or desks or chairs. I believe the curricula can be adjusted to use whatever they have as study materials.
For example, I saw on the news children helping out to distribute meals to evacuees.
Maybe this could be made into a math problem, to calculate the relationship between the number of people and the amount of food to distribute per person.
Maybe this could be made into a social studies project, to converse with the people they distribute foods to and finding about their town history.
Maybe this could be made into a science experiment, to try to figure out ways to reduce garbage while conserving water.
Maybe this could be made into a group work, to research how meal distribution services can be improved.
I understand very well that teachers of the young evacuees are also affected, so maybe teachers and boards of education of other regions can help create adjusted curricula. Or maybe it could be made into an assignment for aspiring educators to be counted as extra credits when classes resume.
Children can be left especially vulnerable when faced with abrupt changes in their environment. But they can also show a lot of resilience if we can point them in the right direction and hold their hands to guide them through hard times. And schooling can be a great way to bring back some much needed stability to their lives to fend off vulnerabilities, even in alternative forms.
Let us not keep our young minds disappointed and worried for too long.