Back-to-School Blues

Image: Empty bookshelves at the school seem to signal an imminent evacuation.

IT used to be, a long, long time ago, that going back to school was just an annual routine for students. Way back then, the entire seven weeks of holidays was spent doing any and everything but school work. No homework, no lessons, no having to wake up early every day. It was games galore, an outing or two, a bus excursion to somewhere, a week or two at a relative ‘in the country’ or abroad, play all day and sleep all night.

Fast-forward to 2018. None of the above is the same. Books and games have changed, excursions have been replaced by tours and with everywhere on the island accessible by vehicle within an hour, there’s no more ‘country’ to go spend time bathing in rivers, catching birds and hunting crayfish. Carnival today falls within the holiday period and the attractions and gadgetry of the internet generation has seen a virtual revolution in how today’s students see and treat school vacations. (The likes of) Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp provide more than all the avenues for instant entertainment and communication today’s young can ever want.

But in all of this, the one thing that hasn’t changed one is the parental headaches of back-to-school blues. For still too many it’s simply an annual nightmare of day-and-night migraine proportions over too long a period. Single parents especially, have the double-trouble of being the sole provider, income or not.

Back-to-School has always been an industry in itself, generating sales at bookstores, shoe stores, clothing departments, barbering and beauty salons, as well as daily incomes for private minibuses, canteens and vendors, etc.

In this maelstrom of related maladies, teachers too have their own brand of back-to-school blues, having to mix holidays with preparation for returning to classroom, while parents think about their children’s school performance.

In this issue, The Voice offers a Back-to-School Supplement full of ideas and choices, shared experiences and related issues – and for both parents and students.

Here’s hoping its contents help readers not only recall how different their own days at school were, but also to make better choices and take new approaches to the handling of Back-to-School business and blues.

There are always aches and pains, but also the joys that come with each student adding another year into the educational process that is the vital base for whatever will become his or her career.

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