Teachers’ day: Celebrating the stars of nation building
The year 2020 brought along with it perhaps the biggest challenge a teacher could face. And it is not surprising that they’ve been the ones who were at the forefront of adapting to the changes that Covid-19 pandemic has forced them to make. Even for those with decades of experience, teaching virtually for them, has turned out to be a whole new ball game. This Teachers’ Day, we celebrate those who’re the most important participants of nation building.
Minor technical glitches, network connection issues, lack of equipment — despite all this, these individuals have made sure they did their job even as talks of salary deductions or layoffs made rounds. “The initial few days were difficult,” says Rajeshwari Vyasan, a class 9th and 10th Sanskrit teacher, Bethany Convent, Panvel. She adds that even though equipments were all in place, getting a hang of teaching using them took time. “Many of our students are underprivileged and did not have mobile phones or laptops. They had to use their parent’s devices. It took a month or so to get used to the minor background disturbances or technical glitches that sometimes spoil the flow of teaching,” she adds.
Shainy S Punchayil, who teaches 7th, 8th and 9th grade students at Amrita Vidyalayam, Juinagar, says that these days teachers are working for 10 hours to prepare for their lessons, compile notes, check assignments, search videos and check exam papers online which has made it “stressful because the time is limited”. “Initially I thought that the virtual classes would give us a good platform to break the traditional methods of teaching. We have used videos, whiteboards using one note app to explain concepts to make teaching more lively and interactive. We are also involving students in online reading, speaking and creative activities by posting short stories and conducting (Just a minute ) activities to develop their LSRW skills. We have successfully conducted two online exams using MS forms.Nevertheless we feel that offline teaching is far better than online teaching. The students who are interactive are no doubt enjoying all the activities and we are getting good feedback from them. But the online teaching is not effective in teaching the below average students. They are showing no interest and unable to complete their assignments. So the teacher is not able to connect with them virtually,” she says.
Rachel D’Souza of Saraswati Vidyalaya, Thane, says that since she teaches primary students, it was especially difficult for them to get into a routine of online classes. “We are in the habit of being personally in touch with small students in classrooms, be it just going around and seeing what they are doing or even talking to them about the silly things that they find interesting. But now that we are taking online classes, it is very difficult to control them because they all want to talk at the same time and get noticed. But it has got better now with practice. They now know when they have to talk and when they have to mute themselves,” she says.
The 56-year-old teacher says that since they were never technologically trained to hold online classes, it was difficult to get used to the processes initially, but now, everyone has got a hang of it. Yet, they would all love to go back to school as soon as possible.
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- Police presence in Wayalar has been increased in the district in the wake of the violence.