How schools came up with innovative ideas to celebrate annual events, virtually
Over the past two years, as schools across the country have been under pressure to adapt to online teaching due to forced school vacations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this has become a casualty of the virus is not only learning, but several important events in the school calendar that are milestones for teachers and students.
As classrooms migrated to virtual space, schools faced the challenge of coming up with innovative ideas to mark important events like annual days and sports competitions, which also needed to be moved online.
Chandrika Banerjee, Principal of Magarpatta City Public School, recalled how technology was used to create a sense of unity.
“In fact, school is not just about academics or textual learning, but also about many experiences beyond that. School events are extremely important in the overall development of students. Students and the teachers coming together as a team, the practice sessions, the costumes, the props and everything else, it’s so exciting and important for everyone involved. During the pandemic, none of this was possible in a way We decided to use technology to our advantage and the teachers created a script, the students were asked to rehearse their parts and record them solo in costumes, then we edited and put them together into one video transparent,” she said.
Nirmal Waddan, Principal of Kalyani School, said not only annual days or cultural events, but even sports competitions are being held virtually, albeit with a twist.
“It was indeed very difficult to come up with ideas on how to organize competitions virtually, but our teachers managed to do it somehow. For example, if we were to organize a basketball competition. Previously, we had two teams on a playing field and the team scoring the most won. But in virtual mode, the students were divided into teams and whoever could dribble the most time in one minute won. We changed the nature competitions or events, but we made sure they all took place,” she said.
However, she admitted one fact. “The experience, fun and joy are lost online,” she said.
It is for this reason that SNBP Rahatni School Principal Jayshree Venkatraman decided to hold celebrations offline, even if it meant holding celebrations for 10 days a year instead of one. “Previously, our annual celebrations had a crowd of 500 parents and students as well as teachers coming together in one day. During the pandemic, we have divided it into divisions and called in small groups of 40-50 people, when our school room capacity is over 500, so that we can maintain adequate physical distancing. The students’ practice sessions were conducted online and they met just a day before the actual performance. But we haven’t done it online because students have faced so much anxiety and mental stress during the pandemic due to all these new adjustments… School concerts are an important way for them to reduce the stress that we wanted to organize for them,” she said.
And where a big annual festival couldn’t take place, schools used creative ways to change daily schedules to include creative student stress relievers. While the camaraderie and excitement of offline school events may be missed by most, some parents said it worked in favor of students.
Insiya Rangwala, parent of a class VIII student at St Mary’s School, said: “Every day at the start of the online course, a few students would come together to present something at the school assembly. We really liked this concept as it loaded up the students for the rest of the day. Our school has organized many small events like plays and online debates. And I can say that in our case, my daughter, who had a little stage scare when it came to performing on stage in front of an audience, actually opened up due to the online events where the crowd is limited and welded.