Everyone queued up to their respective classes.
The teacher explained. Some nodded. Some asked questions.
After some time, the class was over!
Not so special, right?
Absolutely. Just another everyday activity.

Well, it’s certainly not, when its parents who happen to be the students!

You read that right- it was the day of ‘Orientation meeting- but with a twist’.
Like every year, we organise Orientation meetings for all parents of the school, where they can interact with their child’s teachers and understand The Walnut Learning System. But this year, we decided to let the parents spend a day in Walnut School, just like their child does! And guess, who became the “guides”, or the “disciplinarians”? Of course, our smart students of Std. 7 and 8!

The student pilots were given a briefing earlier about the “Time-table” that the parents had to follow, and some instructions which had to be given to the parents. Why “follow” a time-table? Can’t the parents just go and sit in a classroom and listen to the teacher, like it usually happens? Well, yes, but since Walnut School is one of a kind, we do things differently! We have subject-wise classrooms, which students move between after every period. So, why would the parents be any different? Of course, they had to follow the time-table!
Now, what instructions would you give parents? The same which we give them as students!

  • Walk in a line. We have different stairs to go up and down. Follow the signs.
  • Go to the toilet before we start. If you go during the period, you’ll miss the lesson and if you go between periods, you might miss your group.
  • If you do get lost, there will be one student guide sitting in the passage outside the toilet on each floor. Tell your guide what class you are in and you will be told where your group is.
  • When you leave the class, be sure to gather all your personal belongings.
  • In case you have to leave the orientation before it actually ends due to any personal emergency, do write your name on your guide’s list, so we know you aren’t lost in the school somewhere!
  • Keep your phones switched off, or silent.

Our student pilots were so kicked that they were going to give *these* instructions to the parents! The pilots also got together and made groups – who would help which class, and who would be the floor manager to help any lost parent.

And so it started… at 8 am sharp for the first batch! The parents had to register at the registration counter, where they were introduced to their respective pilots. Our pilots were excited, but a little apprehensive about how to deal with adults – who may be their parents too. Some parents reached late, and got stern looks from the pilots! “Time is something we are very strict about”, they told the parents.
The parents went to their first classroom, where the teachers were eagerly waiting to tell the parents all about their subject – how they would be teaching it, how would the tests be, and how would the evaluation take place. They had also kept around 10 minutes for a question and answer session. The parents listened intently, and asked a lot of questions too – which the teachers happily answered.

Then rang the first bell. The parents started to get up to come out of the class, when our pilots came in the way and calmly said, “This is just the warning bell. It means that you have to wrap up your questions, and get ready to move when the final bell rings”. The parents were pleasantly surprised that we have a system of a warning bell before every period! Anyway, as they asked their final questions to the teacher, the final bell rang.

The parents got up and hurriedly approached the doors of the classroom. At this point, the pilots intervened and asked them to use the “Out” door only. “You see, we have other parents who will be coming to this room now, through the ‘In’ door”, they said. Most of the parents lined up to head to the next classroom, but some didn’t follow the rules. On one occasion, one of our pilots said, “You have to move to the next class, but I cannot let you out of the classroom till you form a line!” The parents smiled, and quickly got into a line.

The pilots escorted the parents from room to room every ten minutes, and interacted with the parents while they were switching rooms. There was an incident when one of the parent’s phone rang. This ticked off one pilot, where she went to the parent, and with hands joined in a नमस्कार, politely told the parent, “Dear Sir, we would appreciate if you could please turn off the phone. Cell phones disturb the class, and is distracting for the teacher!” The whole class of parents laughed out at this gesture of the pilot girl, and the parent switched off the phone in embarrassment! 🙂

So went on the day for the parents of all the classes, where they moved from class to class, got information from the teachers, spoke to them, and got to live a day in the school life of their child. In the end, some parents were interviewed by our pilots on what they felt about the whole Walnut experience, and here is what they had to say:

At first, I was little apprehensive about my child requiring to switch the classrooms. But after experiencing it myself, my views have changed. The idea is simple yet effective. It refreshes the mind and helps getting a child ready for the next class.”
“I enjoyed it totally. Thank you Walnut for making us relive our childhood days!”

The day was absolutely magical for all— especially the young pilots! They got to work in groups, led the parents from place to place, got to help lost parents, and also answer routine queries of the parents. They did it all. We understand the importance of these small acts of responsibilities.
Because, this is where these tiny shoulders get strong. And, this is where the character builds.
For which, they rightfully deserved some yummy slices of Pizza after the orientation was all done!

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