When the pandemic ushered in lock downs and forced many schools to move to online education, it had a large impact on student behavior. Students struggled from a variety of issues caused by the disruption and online learning, from difficulty addressing mental disorders that affect academics to a lack of accountability. It has been difficult for many students. Considering this situation, we at Lowry Adventist college decided to have offer one-on-one meetings for parents and their students with administration and teachers.
It has not been a practice for colleges to have such meetings, and not all parents were able to come on the scheduled day. The parents who came, however, felt that it was a profitable exercise, so we decided to continue the meetings through the week and many parents took time out of their busy schedule to learn about how their child was progressing and to get to know the teachers and schooling system.
There were several conferences where we were able to see the benefits of teamwork clearly. One student had excellent academic performance but did not actively participate in the classroom. We explained that when she chose not to interact it influenced other students not to participate, but when she came forward and interacted during a lecture session it improved the classroom atmosphere. This discussion with parent and student was a beautiful synergizing experience that resulted in the student participating more and actively encouraging others towards getting a better learning experience.
When we met with another student and his father, it became clear that his test scores were unexpectedly low. We took a look at his test and noted for him a number of mistakes made which seemed to suggest that he had taken a casual and careless approach rather than a careful, meticulous and rational approach. The pain and concern of the father was evident and was felt by the son too. The information and his father’s reaction helped the student recognize an issue he could be working on.
A third student was known for her hard work, perseverance, and academic achievements and was considered by her class to be an ideal student. She hails from a non-Christian background, but when we asked what she enjoyed the most at college, her first response was the morning devotionals: the songs she learnt and the thoughts presented were inspiring and made an impact in her life. This encouraged us that our worships were having a positive impact on our students.
We saw the results of team work through these meetings. We saw better academic engagement, which resulted in better academic performance. More importantly, as Adventist educators, we always kept in mind that God was part of our team, with parent, student, teacher, administrator, and God all working together. True education is not just about pursuing of knowledge but should create a space for connecting with God.