This week marks the 4th week of the e-learning journey (Home-Based Learning) in my school. Since about two weeks ago, some of my students had started to express their feeling of boredom to be at home all day long and they could do “nothing”, aside from studying. They are required to join the e-learning, probably through video conference, or just working on assignments given by their respective teachers, or else. They need to finish all the assignments on time, as usual, and probably worksheets or other assessments. The only difference is that they could go nowhere to relax or meet their friends.
“Instead of being at home like this, I prefer to go to school.”
“I miss school, sir.”
“It is so frustrating to be at home all day long. Worse, my dad asks me to keep studying every day.”
Frankly speaking, I am not sure that they really miss (read: being at) school. I mean… let’s just be honest. We know that many, if not all, students actually do not love their lives at school that much. Though, I know that some students do enjoy being at school. I would probably say that the main and common reasons that they say those things is because they could do “nothing” at home. If they are given permission to go outside and do whatever they want aside from school or studying, they might not say that they missed school.
In fact, I did tell this to some of my students when we were having an online class, and some of them agreed. Though, probably after about a month full of holidays, they might feel that they miss going back to school and do all the routines again.
Nevertheless, let’s just say that we miss school. “We” refers to students, teachers and probably parents as well. What is it actually that we miss from being at or going to school? And… probably it is not only missing school. We probably also miss going to our workplaces, factories, offices, or else. Again, what is it that actually we miss? What do you miss? What do you look for?
I have a list of the possible “activities” that we miss:
- Talk to friends or colleagues,
- Meetings or discussions,
- Jokes and laughter,
- Social interaction,
- Physical touch,
- Role modeling,
- Flexibility in discussions,
- Seeing people’s look on the face and their body language,
- Act of kindness.
We could add the length of the list, but this is my own conclusion. We probably could not take this general. What we miss the most from what we usually do is probably not the work or job that we do, though some might really miss that. But, we surely miss the social interactions. We miss the social connections. Be it with our friends, students, colleagues, and even our superintendents. We miss the “touch”, the laughter, the looks, the act of kindness. Probably, we even miss the conflicts, anger, pissed of feelings toward our friends or colleagues. We miss all these things, and as human beings, we couldn’t hide that feeling. This is the point of the things on the list.
Just like Simon Sinek said, “We are social animals.” These things are innate behaviors. Not being able to experience those makes us feel “less human”, somehow. Probably too extreme, but probably true as well. Just last Saturday, I read a story on Instagram of my former student, and she expressed how she had changed due to this stay at home thing. She became less social and tend to barely reply chats from her friends, and worse, she barely talked to her close friends. She claimed that she only talked or communicated with her inner circle.
This is probably one of many “severe” or “extreme” cases, but it is probably inevitable and though we might not know, many people might suffer from this issue. I, myself, am an introverted guy. Like, really introverted. So.. you know.. I don’t mind staying at home like now. But, my wife is more of an extroverted person and I could tell from her behavior that she enjoys more when we needed to go to her parents’ house or school to record videos for the sake of her school teaching and learning activities.
Regardless of the case, we could see the pattern already. It is about our social life. We can’t hide it. Our body reacts to it. One of my students also mentioned that he even feels ill because he could not interact with other people outside of his family. He said that he needed that social interaction.
When we get back to our “normal” lives, let us ensure that we do not take these things for granted anymore. Let us appreciate these small things that we missed. Let us restore the social interactions that we miss.
Let us “touch” others more (this doesn’t mean we need to physically touch them, don’t get me wrong, please.) Let us shake the hand of each of our colleagues, friends or students. Let us enjoy the jokes our friend(s) make, no matter how silly, stupid, or absurd the jokes are. Respect the speech of our boss. Let us hug our friends (if possible, again the same message.) Let us express our respect, honor and love toward them.
Let us be true human beings that value and honor relationships, social interactions, social connections. Let us show kindness and make every social interaction meaningful.
Let’s inspire the world through our actions. 😊