– Sukanya Nandy
Unlike every year, when Teachers’ Day celebration at schools was all about having fun and bonding with teachers, this year things will be slightly different. Students can still do the same things but virtually. The pandemic has led to an unprecedented disruption in education across the globe. It is now more important to help teachers protect children’s right to education. During the ongoing pandemic, the teachers themselves have become students, constantly brushing up their skills in the latest digital technologies for effective delivery of online classes. On this occasion, EducationWorld spoke with teachers from some of the country’s well renowned schools to know how they are juggling online teaching-learning with the many other challenges that confront them amid the ongoing pandemic.
Debjani Rudra, head of pre-primary department, La Martinere for Girls School, Kolkata says, “Online teaching was thrust upon us, meaning the situation was thrust upon us. None of us were prepared for it. The lockdown started and the school closed suddenly. We thought in a couple of weeks or a month, we would be back to school, teaching. But eventually, we realised that this would be continuing and we have to introduce online teaching.”
She adds, “Some of the teachers did have technical knowledge (for online classes), not all of them. However, what I did notice is that when we started, it became a challenge for us, in the sense, that we wanted to better ourselves. The first thing, which led to our success was the combined effort – we had meetings together, brainstormed and shared with each others whatever technical knowledge we had. Our plan was extremely systematic because we did not want to diverge from the classroom situation totally. We wanted to keep it as close to classroom teaching as possible. We shot videos of the teachers teaching as they would in the classroom, so the students got to see the teachers in action and the students related to it. They could not see the teachers in front of them but could see the teachers speak. We were not passing on YouTube videos. It was a very personal link between the teachers and the students. The underlying factor was we were delivering lessons. It was the personal touch that mattered the most. ”
Rudra also adds, “The best part about our teachers is that every teacher is a student herself. They are learning constantly and there’s so much joy in it,” adding that Covid-19 has taught the teachers a lot of new things and unexplored areas. “But we would still prefer physical classes, especially for small children. The social understanding that we deliver is so important,” she concludes.
Shruti Sharma, HOD Math, Learning Paths School, Mohali says, ” ‘The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.’ We are in the new era of teaching. Of course, I had to make adjustments in the beginning but I am enjoying this mode of teaching-learning as well. Students are getting quality education as they were getting in physical classrooms. There are concerns around screen time and the missing social interactions that used to happen during class breaks, play time and club meets etc. But this is the need of the hour. We are all adapting to it.”
Ritiwika Dwivedi, subject lead for English, Middle School at Inventure Academy, Bangalore says, “It’s been a big shift. Its been a steep learning curve, when we realised this is going to be the way things will go on in 2020. The good thing is the school invested a lot of time training us. We went through an intensive process for three weeks before the children could begin their academic year. We spent a lot of time planning classes, doing rehearsals, trying out different things. So, when the online classes actually started, it was not as daunting that it seemed to be at first. We are learning so many things about how children can be engaged online and how technology can really be used.” She further adds that the entire process has helped teachers at Inventure Academy with ideas about how they can integrate technology more intensively when schools reopen and things are back to normal.
When asked if she would prefer going back to physical classroom, she says, “Of course, I miss going to school. The social connect is missing but we are trying to do our best. We have allotted time every week, where we allow students to chat with us – whether they have doubts on any subject or anything else they want to talk about, we let them connect with us. I think making room for exclusive student-teacher interaction sessions within the time-table helps make up for the perceived lack of social connect.”
Also read: Online classes amidst coronavirus outbreakPosted in International, News