Teachers in COVID 19: Take out a moment to Thank their Efforts
1. How Lockdown has affected Education?
2. Teachers & Technology: Challenges they are facing
3. Time Management: The constant challenge
4. Teachers, the Unseen Corona Warriors
The outbreak of COVID 19 has brought the world to a standstill. People all across the world are trying their best to cope with the current situation. No industry has been left untouched from the impact of the Coronavirus. Notably, Schools and Colleges were the first to get shut as a measure to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. There is still no certainty when the schools will reopen and the situation is the same all across the globe. The unexpected lockdown led to a complete shift in the working style of teachers. Teaching is a career which builds all other careers. During the Pandemic, Teachers have shown utmost integrity towards their job all across the globe. In the era of Corona, where so many things have come to a halt, teachers are working relentlessly to keep the spirit of students high. They have been incredible in making online classes creative and engaging with their zeal to learn something new. Before we move forward and understand why it is important to recognise their efforts at this hour, let us take a look at how lockdown has affected education.
How Lockdown has affected Education?
In the second week of March, state governments all across India began shutting down schools and colleges. The move was a measure to contain the spread of novel coronavirus. Notably, this is a crucial time for the education sector –board examinations, nursery school admissions, entrance tests of various universities and competitive exams, among others were supposed to be held during this period. There is no immediate solution to stop the outbreak of COVID- 19, schools and colleges are shut for an uncertain period of time. According to an article in Economic Times, the closure has impacted 285 million young Indian learners.
Teachers and Technology
Needless to say, the pandemic has transformed centuries-old chalk and talk teaching methods to one driven by technology. But many schools were not equipped with technology. According to reports, low – income private and government schools were not able to adopt online teaching methods and have completely shut down leaving teachers in distress. If we take a look at the statistics in India, an estimated 2.7 million teachers have been impacted by COVID- 19 are untrained, a report by UNESCO. Notably, UNESCO has also unveiled new task forces to tackle teacher’s training all across the globe.
Click on the link – By UNESCO
Schools and colleges have been homeschooled since March. Zoom and online classes have replaced traditional classrooms. Online classes will transform education, but it is not all rosy, especially in India. Problems like lack of technology, slow internet, no access to smartphones (Rural India) are posing challenges for many families and teachers.
Speaking to a leading daily, Dr.Saroj Rani, a professor at Delhi University said, “Pandemic has proved that we are not yet ready to handle online classes and the importance of classroom learning cannot be denied.” She further added, “While digital classes might get the job done, it is difficult to provide the same level of education to all students, especially to those in rural India.”
We also spoke to some of the primary school teachers and their major concern was handling kids. They said it is easier to handle college students to manage the digital classes than primary children.
Time Management – The constant challenge
Teachers all across India are facing time management as a constant challenge. During the COVID-19, they are confronted with endless numbers of training sessions and meetings. These demands are taking more and more of their personal time, contributing to burnout. In the lockdown, the working hours of teachers have increased like never before. She might find herself messaging parents or the management as late as 9 pm, as compared to their regular timings which were 7:30 am to 2 pm.
While talking to a lot of teachers across India, we realised how they are using this time as an opportunity without complaining. We all know, too much screen time can contribute to vision issues and headache. Constant use of computers and smartphones can lead to severe neck pain. Also, spending too much time on screen leads to less efficient information processing. While talking to teachers, we asked them to share the details of their day. Trust us, they are already overburdened. There is a constant barrage of links, Google passwords, Zoom hangout, conducting meetings, PTMs, and what not? Psychologists are saying that lockdown is taking a toll on one’s state of mind. We have been reading guidelines on taking up stimulating activities such as walking, running, dancing or singing to stimulate the mind. We can also do yoga which releases endorphins which make us feel happy. But the question is, are teachers getting time? Balancing work and home is a major concern for most of the teachers across the nation.
Other Issues that remain a concern
A primary teacher of DPS Lucknow, Pratibha Singh (name changed on request) explains the issues faced by her and her colleagues. The school is cutting down the salaries of many teachers who are not trained for online teaching.
Talking to another teacher at a Private school said, “Our school has done a brilliant job of setting up distance learning in no time. But the competition in the field remains the same. In the quest, some schools are pushing their workforce to breaking point. It is stressful to get constantly monitored.”
In India, The Ministry of Human Resource Development is planning to reopen schools and colleges by September 2020. Notably, teachers feel that alternative plans need to be made in case another lockdown-like situation arises.
We also got in touch with some industry experts: Ground Reality
We got in touch with Shonal Agarwal, the Founder of Chapters International to get her inputs on the current scenario of education and teaching in India.
Here is what she said:
COVID-19 is a never seen before situation for all of us. Be it, teachers, school authorities, parents or even students. As soon as the lockdown was announced teachers were expected to take online classes. Let’s be honest, there was no proper training and no adequate infrastructure for the same. Still, teachers are using this time as an opportunity. They are trying in the best of their abilities.
Talking about rural India, she said, “Frequent power cuts and slow internet connectivity is another big challenge teachers are facing. In terms of technology teachers in rural India are struggling and a lot of them do not have access to it. We need to understand this is the time to support, motivate and uplift teachers. They are building the nation’s future amid all the chaos happening due to Corona. It’s time to recognise their efforts and cooperate as much as we can. “
We asked Rama Raghavan, the Founder of Step up Academy, how she looks at the current scenario?
To which she answered, “The sad truth is that the teachers are hardly recognised. In fact, there are schools that are not paying the teachers or there is a cut in pay. If seen seriously, no school can deny the salary or layoff their teachers or any staff. In fact, we can see that the educators are leaving no stone unturned and striving hard to keep up with the pace. Some teachers have confessed that they are under dire pressure yet they have accepted the challenges. The time is to recognise them rather than denying their rights. If we dig deeper, we find that the pandemic has devastated the entire education system. Online classes are a very good substitute but provided the infrastructure is improved.”
She further added, “The future seems to be foggy since there is no clear policy drawn in this direction. Many high-level meetings were conducted, there was also some news regarding the reduction of the curriculum yet nothing has been finalized. In a country like India, where infrastructure is still a dream, education is the least bothered area. This area needs a great salute and more focus. Above all a salute to all the teachers.”
The situation currently is a complete emergency and was unexpected. It cannot be changed in one single day but it can be improved as the time passes.
Along with our doctors, police and sanitization workers, our teachers are also working day and night to secure the nation’s future by providing the best they can during this pandemic. Can we at least appreciate them? Well, they are our corona warriors as well and kudos to them for all the efforts they are making!
Content Contribution: Ankur Kumar
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