Are teachers, students, parents and the government ready for the reopening of schools?

It has been approximately six months since students set foot in the classrooms or even at school.

Six months of change, transition and growth.

Honestly speaking teachers are going to have a hard time with the students. High school students specifically.

These are human beings who are in a very critical stage of development. -adolescence. At this stage children should be handled with utmost care, the way you hold an egg so it doesn’t break.

With adolescence comes change in behavior as well as physical changes.

The six months that adolescents have spent at home have been enough to change their thinking patterns as well as behavior.

This generation of students have been exposed to things some of us only got to know way later as young adults.

Right now if you log on to Instagram you’ll notice that quite a good number of your followers are teenagers. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but y’all know that internet addiction is a real thing.

Even if the kids are not on social media platforms they are on other sites that post erotic stuff that they are dying to watch and read. Well and to try out too.

Drugs and substance abuse

So I’m thinking, a lot of boys have indulged in drugs and substance abuse. Obviously, they have taken their first sip of alcohol, puffed their first cigar or bhang, and chewed their first lot of khat/miraa.

Liquor, cigarettes, bhang, and khat are readily available substances. I mean you just need to know someone to get a blunt or two. As for the rest, just go to a liquor store get alcohol, any shop for cigars and khat is sold on roadsides, everywhere.

Teenage pregnancies and school

Girls quite a good number of them as we see daily on the news have tasted the forbidden fruit. And boy did they enjoy it? So many school girls are mothers now.

Others are caught up in romantic entanglements that they should have avoided. Did you read about the class six pupil who killed her form two boyfriend?

We are having a group of young mothers going back to school.

A good number of students, of course, have engaged in better activities like casual labor to earn a living.

Emotional distress at school

Teachers on the other hand have been having a hard time trying to make ends meet. Most of them resulting to side hustles such as kuchoma mahindi or selling second hand clothes.

Some obviously resulting in bad habits to deal with the loss of their jobs.

I heard of a teacher who committed suicide, heard? No I bet I saw it on paper.

Times have been hard and only the strongest folks are surviving.

So this is how our secondary schools are going to look like; a bunch of depressed teachers and ‘grown up’ students.

What’s the plan?

How are teachers going to talk to students at school about abstinence and drug abuse when the students have already being exposed?

Are teachers and school counselors ready to deal with the emotional distress and baggage that students will bring to school? I don’t think so.

How will you convince a student who has already developed a hustler mentality that education is the key? Key to what exactly?

Are parents ready to face the consequences of not ‘protecting’ their children as they should?

See, most parents/teachers lost their sources of income. And probably resulted to drinking at home or whatever escape they found.

Chances are, if you have been drinking at home your child has been sipping too.

So we are talking about a dysfunctional family, an adolescent child, a broken teacher, and a bunch of disturbed kids. That’s when you hear ‘kimeumana!’

It is really going to be tough at school!

Also how possible shall it be to ensure that students keep a social distance? The classrooms we have are built to hold an overcrowded number of students, how’s it going to look like?

Have you ever seen the mayhem that occurs during meal times or at the canteens? How will that be managed to ensure little physical contact?

What plan does the government have in place to deal with the psychological problems of the students, parents, and teachers? What plan do the teachers have to ensure students are fully reintegrated back into the school system?

By Wajiru Mbaru

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