School students tired after writing two to three hours on-campus tests
Students have been putting their heads down and looking tired after writing two or three hours at a stretch, teachers of several schools where on-campus exams are being held said.
Constant wearing of masks is only adding to the children’s woes and some have requested teachers to allow them to take off the face cover.
Students have lost the habit of writing for two to three hours at a stretch, especially in a “formal atmosphere”.
Ever since the campuses shut down last March as a precaution against Covid and schools switched to online classes and exams on digital platforms, students had been writing shorter papers.
“There is a stress of writing exams in school. With it is the uneasiness of wearing a mask. Some of them are asking teachers if they could lower the mask,” said Aruna Gomes, the principal of Loreto House.
Teachers are noticing a change in the body language of students who are unable to “sit straight” or are being “fidgety”, teachers said.
Several schools have started the pre-board exams for Classes X and XII on campus. At many others, the exams are scheduled for next week or March.
The government allowed schools to reopen from February 12 for the students of Classes IX to XII.
“Tiredness and lack of confidence are visible in their postures as they are putting their heads down while writing the papers. We want them to develop the confidence of being able to sit through an exam and know where they stand before the board exams. These rehearsals are not about marks or how much they score,” said Jessica Gomes Surana, the principal of Loreto Convent, Entally.
For the students, however, academic apprehensions remain as many of them are asking teachers whether failing in one exam would mean they would not be allowed to write the boards or their “poor performance” in the finals would affect their overall marks.
Psychologists feel it is only natural for students to be tense and that can have behavioral manifestations.
“After a gap of 11 months students have come into a space where a ‘norm’ is expected and they have to be given time and space…. Exams are in any case anxiety-provoking... now more so as they have not sat at one place for so long,” said psychotherpist Farishta Dastur Mukerji.
The heads of several schools said they were allowing students to go out and lower their mask for a couple of minutes.
“We don’t allow them to do that in the examination hall. But teachers have been asked to let them go out, lower their masks for a couple of minutes and then come back,” said Richard Gasper, the principal of St Augustine’s Day School.
The exhaustion is apparent even outside the examination hall, some teacher said.
“When they are coming out after writing a paper, they are much quieter than before. Unlike what they would do before, they are not discussing the paper,” said Suvina Shunglu, the principal of Sri Sri Academy.
Psychiatrists said students would have to gradually wake up to the fact that they would have to go back to school.
“There is an apprehension because some students had taken going back to school rather lightly as if it is not going to happen, but now they will have to gradually get used to it,” said psychiatrist Jai Ranjan Ram.