The year 2020 has seen many changes; and the most fascinating
ones have been in education. With the coronavirus pandemic
causing schools to shut down, education went online as early as
March 2020. In honour of Teachers’ Day, CECILIA D’SOUZA spoke
to a few educational heroes to find out more about the
challenges of teaching during the pandemic.
Nigel Noronha, French Teacher, Goldcrest International School, Mumbai, Maharashtra
First of all, change is the only thing that is constant and it is extremely important to embrace change to evolve. Virtual learning is the new change in our lives and it started when lockdown began due to the novel coronavirus. In the beginning, it was difficult to conduct classes virtually, but with time we, the teachers and students, embraced the change and evolved as better learners. I feel that the virtual platform allows us to be more creative and allows us to make the class a lot more interactive and fun. It has helped us to think out of the box to provide our students with quality education. I would like to tell all the young readers out there—you are the future of this country and education will always pave the way to a brighter future. Pursue whatever interests you and makes you happy.
Mimila Yolmo Pradhan, Headmistress, Rockvale Academy, Kalimpong, West Bengal
The teaching process has indeed changed during the lockdown. Who would have thought that the term ‘virtual’ would be so vital in a teacher’s life? From virtual teaching to assessments and assignments, we teachers had to adapt to a new teaching method and learn new skills and techniques to keep the lamp of education burning. In the hills, at times, the network is a problem, so this has been the number-one challenge for teachers and students while studying using live classes. Let’s hope in the days to come, this problem will be solved. My message to young readers is a quote I read some time back, ‘Don’t study because you need to. Study because knowledge is power. Study because education can never be taken away from you. Study because you want to know more. Study because it enhances you. Study because it makes you better.’
Priya Shirodkar, Assistant Teacher, Vivekanand English High School, Mumbai, Maharashtra
The pandemic situation has brought about a tremendous change in the field of education. The main challenge for every institute was to train the teachers and make them well versed with technology to carry out teaching in a more effective manner. As there are many video conferencing applications available, the first challenge was to select the best application to allow students and teachers to interact with each other. The school organised various training programmes to train the teachers on how virtual classes could be conducted in a healthier manner. These training sessions taught us how to use technology not only for academic purposes, but also for various co-curricular activities to boost the creativity and curiosity of our students. This is a unique experience where we are trying to use each and every possible way to give our best to our students. In the end, I just want to add that we need to gear up and explore different ways of learning and teaching.
Vandana Gambhir, Library HOD, Pathways World School, Gurugram, Haryana
The year 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us and made us adaptable and innovative in many ways. Even now, we are trying to find effective ways to virtually deliver courses to our students in the best way possible. There are some drawbacks of virtual learning, like lack of flexibility. The children also get restless sitting in the same position. To add to it, there is no socialising. All of us have been and will continue to work towards keeping our students engaged and feeling upbeat. My message to the young readers is to keep learning and stay positive! Take care of your health and stay safe. There are millions of less privileged children who are not as blessed as we are, so try to bring them some joy. Be empathetic to them, especially in these challenging times. This will help to increased resilience while building a safer and more caring community.
Yasin S Khatri, Supervisor, Sacred Heart School, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Undoubtedly, the coronavirus pandemic has brought this world to a standstill, including educational institutions. With the temporary closure of schools, the biggest challenge for teachers is conducting online classes. Today, most schools have resorted to digital and online learning, but the dangers of adapting to these mediums of teaching and learning are huge. While most educational institutions are adopting new platforms of online learning, we cannot ignore the challenges related to cybersecurity. The schools, therefore, must shoulder the additional and important responsibility of protecting students in this process of digital and online learning. The bond between teachers and students is a special one. Though physically apart, online classes have made ‘Anytime, Anywhere Learning’ a reality. So, let us use this opportunity to strengthen the bond further.
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