Teachers in a fix as Delhi schools reopen
Schools closed right at the start of the pandemic, and have been shut ever since with the exception of a few days earlier this year. With Covid-19 cases being on an all-time low, the Delhi government recently allowed schools to reopen in a phased manner from September 1, alongside providing a long list of SOPs. This has certainly made the parents go into a dilemma of whether or not to send their children to school right away. But, in a far challenging situation are the city-based school teachers, who are have to be present at school and also make arrangements to settle things back home.
“I’ve started hunting for a house help who can assist my mother-in-law in taking care of my two-year-old as well as with the household chores, when I am off to school! Abhi tak toh travelling time bach jata tha and kuchh ghante ki hi class hoti thi, so I was somehow managing. But now it’s difficult to manage house work as well as school work. It’s great that schools are reopening since children were having a pretty difficult time, but for us teachers this only means more hurdles since we need to ensure that the students follow Covid-19 precautions at all time,” says Manisha Verma, a teacher from Model Town.
“Functioning on an offline as well as online work module, that too simultaneously, will be stressful,” says Neha Mathur, a teacher from Dhaula Kuan, adding, “We are asked to take online and offline classes together, which is tough. Also, we do ensure that students follow social distancing at school, but what about the time when they go out of the building? Youngsters tend to travel in groups. The last time when reopened schools, teachers were put on duties even on the road outside the school to ensure that the students are maintaining social distancing. This is too taxing after a day long work shift!”
The work load will certainly increase, opine teachers about having to physically go to the school. Ruchika Bagai, a teacher from Shalimar Bagh, adds, “Ab school shuru ho jayega toh I will be very busy. Besides teaching, we will have to resume other duties as well. To follow Covid precautions, school buses won’t ply, so if all parents come to drop off and pick up their kids in their vehicles, there will be a major jam near the school and no one will be able to reach on time! And at home, my daughter had been telling me until now, seeing Instagram, ki yeh bana do woh bana do khane ke liye. Now, I’ve told her ki yeh sab nahi ho payega since I’ll have absolutely no time! Yes, we teachers are excited to meet each other, but for things to go back to how they were before the pandemic will take a lot of time. Staff room mein sab saath mein nahi kha sakte, classroom me zyada paas khade hoke samjha nahi sakte, kaafi kuchh badal jayega.”
Some teachers even feel that parents need to chip in for them to be able to balance their work. “Parents need to have discussions with their children, especially the younger ones, about having Covid appropriate behaviour in school. Kids love going out, but they have got used to being at home in the past year and a half. Now, they need to be told about the importance of wearing masks,” says Verma, and Mathur adds, “Parents need to shoulder the responsibility with us to ensure that the students are well-informed and stay safe in the Covid times.”
Author tweets @anjuri