It’s the start of another school year, and the Ministry of Education is showering the media with assurances of all kinds. There will be marked improvements to the problems students typically encounter, the ministry promises — from poor building maintenance, to the mistreatment of students, to the notoriously low quality of education.
We asked our readers to tell us what their kids are most apprehensive about as they return to the classroom.
It turns out that aside from the usual worries about fitting in and the dread of waking up early, kids are pretty excited.
Some students are facing what adults often recall as their worst nightmare: moving to a new school or being separated from their friends.
Rania al-Malky’s 5-year-old son Hassan was seriously concerned about being separated from his friends, but a new Spiderman backpack with wheels eased his anxiety, she says.
Nour al-Abbassy’s 3-year-old had a hard time transitioning from the nursery to preschool. She seems to be experiencing premature nostalgia, telling her mother she “regrets growing old and joining school.” She finds school boring compared to all the fun she had at the nursery.
Many of the kids put on a brave face and told their parents that they’re not worried about anything. Emad al-Sayed’s little son Bassel stoically sees school as just another boring thing he has to do, worthy of neither excitement nor anxiety, his father says.
Abu Zakareya credits this relaxed and positive outlook to blissful ignorance. “The best thing is that my son is not afraid of anything, because he doesn’t know anything,” he reflects.
Unfortunately, not all the kids are that carefree. Shaimaa al-Saeed’s daughter was so terrified of being hit by her teacher that she asked her mother to accompany her all the way to her desk when she went back to class.
Older students who are already settled with their group of friends see the return to school as a win-win situation for them and their parents.
“We are at the height of happiness, and our parents are as well, because we honestly drove them crazy while we were at home. And we also got bored. School will start and we will start to go out and won’t be bored any longer, and they will be able to get rid of us,” high-school student Ahmed al-Masry excitedly explains.
Some of the teens adopt a more serious attitude. Mohamed Ali’s sister worries that she might need private lessons to stay up to speed, because her school is undergoing renovations and she’s temporarily been transferred to evening classes at another school. Yasmin Mohamed, on the other hand, is philosophically troubled by the “responsibility of knowledge.”