Dr. S.S Verma
Education always has its more importance for the unprivileged section of society and parents know that their kids will be alright as their teachers always work hard so the kids can learn. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought life to a standstill all over the world with nearly 200 countries reporting the closure of educational institutions. This pandemic time has brought into sharp focus how privileged some students are, and how others have been left behind but it has also shown how important teachers are – and how they can succeed, even during a crisis, with the right technology and support system.
This year’s teacher day (5th September in India) will also be celebrated without personal and physical interaction and greetings but with new traits like online wishes and social distancing with masks as teachers and students are going through a different phase in their lives due to COVID-19 pandemic. This is a very challenging time not only for students, their parents, teaching community but for the education system as a whole. Many teachers in private academic institutions have already lost their jobs, future prospective teachers will have minimum possibility of finding jobs with present scenario of pandemic as well as growing inclination towards online education system. Besides, the existing teachers are under constant stress to cope with ongoing needs of online education teaching-learning process.
Teaching process is changing a lot as instead of teaching what to think & learn to students they must be taught how to think and learn. Presently, teacher job is not only to educate children but also to counsel them. Teachers teaching-from-home/school online have to be well versed and equipped with online teaching devices and material for teaching in order to stay grounded in this difficult time. Teachers have to listen and take care of students concern about learning difficulties, learning pressure, lack of facilities, lack of time and many more what students share with them during online teaching process. Teachers who are obsessed with class room teaching learning process have to be competitive with fantastic and highly creative teachers providing strategies as fast as the obstacles appeared during online teaching. At the highest level, a shift in mind set would be required to teach in this new paradigm. Start by being reasonable with yourself. It was, in fact, impossible to change to or adopt distance learning overnight without lots of trial and error but teaching community made it possible with their determination, dedication and desire to change.
The real points to consider are not the strict adherence to regular conditions and norms but how to provide a rich experience to all learners/students who are now without traditional teachers standing beside them in classes to monitor and encourage. Students during online teaching sessions won’t be able to work as productively, anyway-so if we can’t scale back we’ll be sending them work they cannot do. According to experts in online teaching, what would normally take one class period to teach in the classroom will probably take twice as long during online teaching-learning process.
The teaching profession has no doubt, been at the forefront in adapting to this change with so many innovative means being followed by the teachers to reach out to the students. Be it the video lectures, video links online classes, tests and assignment submissions, the teaching fraternity hasn’t shied away from its responsibilities. This could not have been possible without the active participation and adoption at students’ level also and we have to appreciate our students for their active participation. According to a new World Bank guidelines, three key principles are mentioned to strengthen teacher effectiveness during and in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, as well as opportunities for long-run improvement and to ensure teacher effectiveness.
To support teacher resilience: School system must protect teacher jobs and salaries so that there is a motivated workforce ready to get students back to speed when schools reopen. Further, enhancing teacher intrinsic motivation and minimizing burnout is also important.
To support teachers instructionally: Teachers must be equipped to assess students once they return to school so they can identify what key content and skills have been lost and need rebuilding – as well as detect warning signs of dropping out. Besides, teachers will also need professional development support to undertake effective remedial education.
To support teachers technologically: Teachers should be made well equipped with technology and should also be trained to know how to use technology effectively.
Dr. S.S Verma