Partnering During A Pandemic: Back to School!

The start of the 2021 school year was delayed by a few weeks, but classes are now in session.  Kids are getting up early, doing their chores, pulling out their backpacks, organizing their supplies, and getting to work.

Photo submitted by student's family on Feb 9

The morning routine does not include a bus ride.  The morning routine does include a walk to the corner store to pay for another week of data on a cell phone.

Photo submitted by student's family on Feb 9

The morning routine does not include ironing a school uniform and shining a pair of black school shoes.  The morning routine does include helping little siblings to get settled, clearing the table and making sure the internet connection is working.

Photo submitted by students' family on Feb 9

The Ministry of Education suggests students sign into their online classes 15 minutes before the start time, to make sure everything is working correctly. 

Photo submitted by the student's family on Feb 9

Over the course of the school day, mothers and grandmothers work hard to keep their students on task.  Parents of young children have had to become the primary teachers for their kids.  Older students squeeze in time between their own classes to assist younger students and each other.  Some households have combined efforts, creating mini-schools with cousins and neighbors.  This allows for near-age peers to help each other and for parents to take turns with the teaching responsibilities.  Adults can also help out in the areas of coursework with which they have the most knowledge and capability.

Photo submitted by students' family on Feb 9

As is true around the world, mothers are bearing the greatest burden of work and worry when it comes to balancing management of the home, being a full-time teacher, and earning enough income to put bread on the table.  Food insecurity is a persistent worry for struggling families.  Children usually receive a basic "snack" of beans or rice when they attend school in person. With all the kids at home all day, the persistent "I'm hungry!" cry wears on the mothers, especially if there is nothing to eat.  Finding funds to pay for the internet is only helpful if families have enough income to pay the electricity bill - another worry. 

As I have mentioned in previous stories, support for student study  with gifts directed toward supplies or scholarships is vital despite the fact that students are not personally traveling to school.  Students are learning, and were required to pass exams and meet all of the work requirements from 2020 in order to begin the 2021 school year.  One thing we did in our community was to provide for the printing of teacher guides and worksheets for the students who do not have the capacity to print these items on their own.  

The first day of school is always special for the little ones.  Hats off to the moms who made a big effort to celebrate that milestone with their kids, whether school happened in their kitchens or on their porches.

Welcome to the 2021 school year
Photo submitted by the student's family on Feb 9

Today we start our adventure and we are having fun!
We play, we sing, we read and we learn many interesting things.
Together we make a great team to achieve our goal!

The Magic Words taped up on the door
Good morning, good afternoon, thank you, with permission,
enjoy your meal, excuse me, please

Good job making that raccoon, little buddy!

If you are connected with Salvadoran elementary, middle or high school students and their families, send them a word of encouragement as they begin a new year of study at home.


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