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Mental Health

Schools in Kolkata see rise in children’s counselling

Kids withdrawn after two years of online class: Teachers

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 16.07.22, 06:53 AM
Feeling uncomfortable in large peer groups, being withdrawn or overcome by a feeling of sadness are some of the issues that teachers and counsellors in school are coming across in children after two years of online classes.

Feeling uncomfortable in large peer groups, being withdrawn or overcome by a feeling of sadness are some of the issues that teachers and counsellors in school are coming across in children after two years of online classes.

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A section of students are showing emotional and behavioural problems and require counselling much more than before the pandemic, said teachers across many schools.  

Feeling uncomfortable in large peer groups, being withdrawn or overcome by a feeling of sadness are some of the issues that teachers and counsellors in school are coming across in children after two years of online classes.

In some cases, problems at home over the last two years have spilled into the classroom, said a school head.

Marital discords in families have impacted many more children and it is affecting their performance now. The availability of a device throughout the day has led to addiction in some.

Several schools are giving more thrust to counselling. Some have introduced changes in their regular routines to help children adapt to the rigour of in-person classes.

Calcutta International School will start a social and emotional curriculum for students. La Martiniere for Girls has had training sessions for teachers because the school believes “every teacher is a counsellor”.

“After returning to in-person classes, we are finding students who require counselling intervention, more than what they required two years back,” said Tina Servaia, principal, senior school, Calcutta International School.

Servaia said students who were boisterous have become withdrawn or are lacking in skills like how to have conversations in peer groups, be a team leader or a team player.

“These are skills that we did not have to teach earlier... Children have to interact freely and normally without inhibitions. We have to undo the damage of the past two years,” she said.

La Martiniere for Girls will have a class teacher’s period where the teacher will only talk to children.

The teachers have had three sessions with the school counsellor to understand how to break the ice in a classroom and create a space where the children can share things about their lives without being judged, said principal Rupkatha Sarkar.

“Every teacher is a counsellor. The role of a counsellor goes beyond teaching the pages of a book. Students want a secure space and the school and teacher can provide that,” she said.

“Many more children are needing counselling now and teachers have to be equipped for it. When teachers cannot handle it, the children are being sent to counsellors,” said John Bagul, principal of South City International School.

Psychotherapist and school counsellor Farishta Dastur Mukerji said a large part of socialisation happens in school. “A virtual space is an unreal world and the students lived in that space for far too long. They are finding it hard to connect with one another,” she said.

Last updated on 16.07.22, 06:53 AM
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