Some thoughts and advice for parents contributed by A for Effort Tutoring Center.
In spring 2020, when the schools in Jakarta - and basically all over the globe - closed due to the pandemic, we all probably didn’t expect that our kids would have to stay at home for such an incredibly long time. Nine months without face to face school education - that just would have sounded unbelievable. If we had known what to expect already mid March … well, better not to think about it.
Summer came, the school holidays came and with them a hint of normality for those who traveled home, as life in most of the western countries more or less went back to pre COVID-19 times during the warm summer months.
But the schools in Jakarta and in the whole of Indonesia stayed closed even after the summer break - frustrating both kids and parents. We dragged ourselves and our kids from week to week, trying to stay sane and halfway motivated. And at some point we kind of stopped to wait for the relieving information of a school reopening. We just didn’t want to get frustrated even more. We all basically knew that if we got this far, we could probably also go on longer, even after the turn of the year.
Then some unexpected good news….
And then, out of the blue and kind of unexpected, it was out there: the message by the Indonesian Minister of Education that schools will be allowed to reopen in January 2021. Boom! None of us dared to believe that this was no hoax, or that the government wouldn’t take back the decision due to rising numbers of infections. It is the beginning of December (when this was written) and of course things can still change. But it looks like many schools, international ones as well as local, are getting prepared to reopen, provided they can follow the security and health procedures given by the government. It seemed to be light years away just a few weeks ago but it looks as if we are currently going through the last phase of online schooling for now.
And now the doubts are kicking in
Maybe you are feeling the same as other parents: for the last months some of us couldn’t wait to finally have our kids back in school and get our normal life back. But now, since this is just around the corner, we might be having second thoughts. After all, the pandemic is still here, possibly more severe than ever before. If we trust the official data, infections are rising rather dramatically and hospitals seem to be at the edge of their capacity in Indonesia. The last thing we all want is that our children get sick at school or on their way there.
There are so many questions you might have: what if there happens to be a case at your child’s school? Will we all have to quarantine? Or possibly, worse just our children? Maybe even in a state owned facility? Can I really trust my kid to do hand washing, disinfection and wearing a mask at all times? How can we expect our children to keep the correct distance from each other if they haven’t met for such a long time and all they want is to be with their friends? Can I really trust that the teachers are all 100% healthy? Can I really trust the school staff are too?
How to decide as a good parent
Well, the good thing is: we can decide whether we want to send our kids back to school or whether we want them to continue with online schooling. In some countries, the schools were opened at the beginning of summer and neither students nor teachers had a choice: they had to go to school.
What is the right decision as a parent with kids attending an international school in Indonesia? Nobody knows. The sad fact is that this whole pandemic and all the things that come with it are new. There are no experts there we could refer to.
You might not have made a decision yet. You might still have doubts if the government decision will be revoked. Most of us will probably trust our gut feeling and for many of you this might mean that after so many months of taking care of our kids’ physical health, it’s now time to take care of their mental health and this means finally getting back a normal life. And that means allowing them to attend school again.
Face to face school or online school: get support if you or your kids need it
We hear it from many of our clients, and you might feel the same: If parents feel obliged to take the place of the teacher, this is often a potential cause for conflict. While children tend to take advice happily from “real teachers” they often block if parents give advice or even correct them. This is when a professional tutor who will be perceived as a real teacher by your child can help a lot. Be it that your child has to keep up or that he or she wants to excel his or her skills. A for Effort is a tutoring center for Math & Science that caters to the needs of students attending international schools in Indonesia.
Find out more information about our tutoring options on www.aforeffort.org