By Seshi Sompuram
LEXINGTON, MA–As a precautionary measure and in anticipation of State closing down due to the pandemic and unprecedented times, Shishu Bharati initiated and transitioned to remote teaching and learning.
Over two-hundred or so teachers, and the administrative staff quickly adopted online classes to about 850 students from all three-facilities (Lexington, MA; Nashua, NH; and Walpole, MA).
Like always, overwhelmingly, almost all the students have been eagerly to attending this distance learning. Teachers are delighted to see the continued enthusiasm from students, and the unwavering support from the parents.
And so, Shishu Bharati’s mission of teaching Indian languages (Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada) and culture classes continues with compassionate and dedicated teachers great effort. Even, our adult Sanskrit students also taking advantage of the online teaching and attending in full strength, of course remotely.
Shishu Bharati volunteers are making effective use of online web tools such as, Google Hangout, Zoom, Google class rooms, GoToMeeting etc., In spite of so many (>850) students, and from KG-8th grade, and 6-languages, and culture grades, Shishu Bharati’s able teachers are coordinating and running these Sunday classes very smoothly.
It is amazing to see all the students have quickly adopted to these tools, learning, and working on their assignments, projects, and presentations. It is like, no different than in person regular sessions. Students are thrilled to attend Shishu Bhatai online classes, not only to learn, but also to see their Shishu Bharati friends and buddies, who miss them a lot. Likewise, the affectionate and enthusiastic teachers are very happy and proud to see their students.
Our graduating class of 2020 has been working hard to full fill all the requirements, such as language and culture essay writing, presentations, an important and a significant part of their grade and graduation requirements. Like, any other graduating class, they will have a “Virtual Graduation” on June 13th. A week before that (June 7th), like every year, each location has pre-graduation online event planned.
We are proud to say that this is year class is one of our biggest graduating class, with 75-stduents graduating. The class of 2020 will always remain as very special and when things are conducive, we would celebrate in person.
While we plan to close this academic year by June 13th, and plan for next year, we await but have flexible plans in accordance with State’s mandate and comply with recommendations. Shishu Baharti also commends and be proud of the families and volunteers, for their token of service to the community by extending their hand and heart (participating and contributing in various ways; by making masks, donating food and money, or many versatile possible ways).
While we all take one day at a time, we all hope and move forward to better days tomorrow. We salute and express out great appreciation to all those great spirits who selflessly serve and put their lives on the frontlines.
(Mr. Sompuram is President of Shishu Bharati, the School of Languages and Culture of India.)