What do teachers and students think about going back to school

When the alarm goes off at 7:30 am, Maria Gabriela Soares de Almeida, 17, already knows it’s time to get up. She needs to bathe her younger sister and send her to school. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the student, still in the morning, goes to the English course.

On his way back, he bathes his sister again, teaches the task and runs, now to pack his own things, because at 1 pm he needs to be at the Liceu do Conjunto Ceará. “My hours were from 1:00 pm to 6:30 pm, when I got home I would go on my walk to relieve some of the daily stress of the routine”, he says.

This was Maria Gabriela’s routine before the pandemic. With the arrival of covid-19 and the interruption of in-person classes, it was necessary to adapt. She still gets up at 7:30 am, bathes her sister, sends the little one to school, but night walks have been replaced by hours of online study, with a focus on college entrance exams.

“I feel that even though distance learning and hybrid school education is improving for better student performance, this still makes individual study very tiring, because what the student did only in school, before the pandemic, now he does the double and still having the issue of not always being able to keep up with the school rhythm, which is demanded so that he can pass the year”, he reflects.

Since the last October 4th, Ceará determined the mandatory prioritization of in-person activities. With this, thousands of students like Maria Gabriela, were able to resume a little of their routines from before. The wait was long and she couldn’t wait to be back in the school environment. After 18 months in remote learning, the expectation was high and the day finally arrived:

“My first day of school was pretty cool, oddly enough, even though I was apprehensive I really enjoyed it. The feeling of being back is that I’m in my second home, because since I know myself, I’ve always been to school”.

Since the last October 4th, Ceará determined the mandatory prioritization of in-person activities. / Photo: Personal Archive

Readaptar was the watchword for many of these students, after so long having the school indoors. This was the case of Marcela Lovatel, also a 2nd year student, but from a private school, which has already returned with almost 100% of its students to the classroom.

“I think what was most difficult for me was getting back to this routine I had before, because as I stayed (almost) two years at home, I kind of got used to it and it was a very sudden change because this decree, to come back with 100 %, it was like that from a Saturday to a Monday to be back. Currently, I feel better, wanting it or not, than I felt at home, because at home I was more lazy, right?”, said Marcela.

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She also says that she was apprehensive, mainly because she didn’t think she would know how to express herself, relate as before. But after the first successful day of in-person classes, she became more relaxed: “Especially when I saw that everyone at my school was following protocols, I was less worried”.

This anxiety of face-to-face feedback was also shared with those who struggled hard on the other side of the screen, the teachers, who spent hours of their days adapting to the new model, planning and trying to turn that whole moment into learning. For them, the return had its thrills, but also huge challenges. This is what the teacher of the 2nd year of elementary school at a private school, Gabriela Silva Gomes, reports:

“There was a fear of getting sick, fear of transmitting this disease, both to the children and to other family members, because many of us used public transport, because even though we were following all the protocols, many things could end up sticking out of some way. way, then there were all these fears”, he reveals.

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The Spanish teacher at a state school in Fortaleza, Nathália Cardoso, 35, took up the position already during the pandemic (in May this year), and the return to face-to-face for her had its particularities: “My biggest expectation was because I didn’t know the students in person. I didn’t know what they were like, what they liked, how they behaved, I also didn’t know how they were, in family terms, because we know there are many things that influence the performance of these students”.

Nathália points out what feelings accompanied her during this period: “I felt great anxiety on the part of the students for this return to face-to-face, because of the difficulties they had online and also because many said they learned better in person. And there were the teachers too, who were exhausted from being indoors”.

Professor Shalana Varela, 31, from a state school in the city of Pacatuba, also highlights some of the difficulties reported by many public school students, who during the pandemic had to find a job to bring livelihood into the home, which ended up making it difficult a little their return to face-to-face, “especially the 3rd year students, the prospect there is for a few to take the entrance exam, most of them think about getting a job and helping around the house”.

For Joana D’arc Campelo de Andrade, 47, a municipal teacher, in early childhood education for over twenty years, the return has been more peaceful than she imagined: “As the saying goes, the devil was not as ugly as the we painted, we really felt very scared on the way back, but when we went back to school, we realized that the children were well informed, we carried out a diagnostic evaluation with them and we realized that they had good information about what this pandemic was” .

Opinion shared by the Portuguese teacher at the Liceu do Conjunto Ceará, Maurício de Oliveira. For him, students are more motivated than before the pandemic: “As a teacher it is always very stimulating to be with students in the classroom and I also feel excited to resume the profession, the work activity, already in person”, he says. .

Thus, little by little, new forms of coexistence occur in the classroom environment, with the hope that, soon, everyone will be able to see beyond the eyes, the smile, as stated by the science teacher, Giordano Vasconcelos Capibaribe:

“We notice that the students are a little reticent, they are still tasting very cautiously, seeing how things will develop, seeing how everything will happen so that they can really, perhaps, feel it. I think that a big milestone will be when we manage to remove the mask at the collective level, when we can really see the other person’s smile, it’s seeing him in the fullness of his face, seeing himself in the other’s face”.

Source: BoF Ceará

Edition: Camila Garcia

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