Grandpa & grandma to the rescue in online era

With the school going online, many grandparents have turned teachers, mentors, and tech support

By   |  Published: 7th Apr 2021  8:46 pmUpdated: 7th Apr 2021  10:36 pm

Kodimala Srinivas’s day starts early. If one has to be more specific, it starts at school time; just as his six-year-old grandson logs in for daily online lessons in the new normal.

Once a general manager, now the retired 62-year-old’s new role is that of teacher and playmate. His is a story similar to many elderly parents who either moved back in with their children or took on a more active role in running the household as workplaces shifted home during the pandemic. Many grandparents are helping their young grandchildren navigate the school day through remote learning and, in turn, are learning something new themselves.

Srinivas and his wife Prashanti take turns teaching their grandson who is in second standard. Prashanti’s prior teaching experience has paid off and in a way, she is picking up right where she left off. “We are both learning something each day. I used to take tuitions as a young mother which is now coming in handy. From 9 to 2, he is busy and we are working five days a week,” says Prashanti. They are part of a joint family helping out both their sons and daughters-in-law. Their other son has an eight-month-old, so now 58-year-old Prashanti divides her time between her two grandchildren.

Their daughter-in-law, Sweta, a makeup artiste, says her son loves studying with his grandparents. “My father-in-law makes the Math fun for him. Like he makes it a competition between the two of them, who can write tables from 11 to 20 faster. So my son is also eager, but more than anything he wants to play with his grandfather,” she laughs. But she is also grateful for the help as both she and her husband have to go out for work from time to time.

At IT professional Sampath Reddy’s house, everything works like clockwork. His nine-year-old son logs in for online lessons during the first half of the day and the rest of the day, he studies with his grandparents. “For Telugu, he sits with my mother, and other subjects, with my father. I think after the first couple of months, we all had a conversation that it felt as if we wrote exam for fourth standard again or something. My dad also had to brush up on the syllabus. But I think, it’s also important that our son understands that his grandparents are his teachers now,” says Sampath.

But he admits that more than his parents, his son is also becoming their teacher in a sort of role reversal. “He tells them when his teachers send PDFs or project work to be done. He will show them how to open the file, where to enter the write up and what printouts are required. It’s all very regimented,” says Sampath.

P Venkateshwara Rao found teaching his grandchildren another way to bond with them. “Previously, when they were young, I would tell them stories. Now I have to keep up with their high energy but I like spending time with them this way. I’m also learning about new things,” says Venkateswara, former businessman.

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