Note To My Students

Apr 30, 2020

Mohit Patel |

My Dear Learners,

The first thing on my mind is how much I, and all the educators, miss seeing you. You all are the soul of the school and, frankly, our lives as well. You have not been to school for 45 days. That is as long as summer holidays. The world is going through a difficult time. We are all wondering what the future holds. There are a lot of challenges ahead, especially for adults. Boring adult concerns like economic slowdown (or even recession), safeguarding jobs of people who work with us, managing logistics in uncertain supply lines, etc., are heavy on our minds. But these are not your concerns. I want you to be aware and try to understand but never to be bogged down. You will deal with such matters when your time comes. Right now, your time is to explore and learn.

Today is the last day of your online classes. Summer holidays begin. In a way, you will not feel the excitement you normally feel at the beginning of holidays. But that's OK. No one is feeling normal. We are all fortunate to have homes to be at and food on our plates. I don't want to take you on a guilt trip.

During the holidays, try to do what I always keep asking you to do. Read more, read wide. Play more. Or just go outside or on the terrace and sit quietly. Keep your phones and tablets aside. Use them but be mindful. Keep asking who is in command, you or the device? Try to reflect sometimes; what you have learned and how far you have come in the last year. There are things you did well and improved in. Great; be proud. There are things that you know were not so great, were wrong or hurtful. Think about that. It is hard I know. You do not want to think about it. Why? Because it is not pleasant. Good. Remember that feeling. And try to avoid doing those things. Simple.

Next year (very soon), we meet again. Your friends and educators are all waiting to see you. Waiting to share experiences during the lockdown. To see if you look different (after eating too many mangoes), or if you have a new hair colour, or if we sound different. Maybe you learnt many new things and you see the world slightly differently. Maybe you will now cherish your friends a little more; may be seeing your educator means a little more; may be being here with all of us, together, is more meaningful than you previously thought.

Our school is our place of rest. Here, we bring our thoughts and ideas and hopes and fears. And here they spread out and dissipate, among our friends, our educators, the trees, the gardens, the sand and the wind. Here, we become who we are and who we will be.

I want to leave you with this poem by Mary Oliver.

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

I will see you soon. Filled with light.

Your fellow explorer,
Mohit Patel