The global pandemic, has altered our lives significantly. Never before have we seen a lockdown of this magnitude. While we wait for the vaccine to arrive, the show must go on. We must find ways to carry on with our work from the confines of our homes, with the support of technology.
As school leaders, we carry a responsibility to provide uninterrupted education to our students. Teachers have been at the frontline, adapting and adopting the change. The schools had to shut, yet schooling continued, uninterrupted on e-learning platforms. Many parents did not have extra devices for their kids. One device was being shared by many users at home. Teachers and parents had to grapple with poor connectivity. That meant, going with asynchronous mode of teaching where students could view their lessons at their convenience.
Aligning and Motivating Teachers
Teachers undoubtedly, are a valuable asset, despite being used to physical classrooms and face to face teaching, they suddenly developed into new avatars of E-teachers. It was not easy, without formal training on e–teaching. Seemed impossible initially, but these super heroes made online teaching happen with some support. Over time, they were able to make teaching interesting and effective through videos and other available resources. Preparing a video, managing content resources and then screenplay was not a cakewalk. Teachers put in fourteen to sixteen hours a day, to prepare and deliver an effective lesson.
They also demonstrated out- of- box creativity and extraordinary enthusiasm in making such videos. The result was fantastic: 500 plus videos uploaded on our channel for all classes. These videos with a real classroom feel appealed to students. Teachers used many innovative methods to reach out to the students, like video lectures, online classes, discussion, activities, tests and assignments. Our team did not shirk from their responsibilities despite hardships and resource crunch.
We are proud of our students for their energetic involvement. Online classes have ensured productive usage of phones and screen time, which otherwise would have gone towards gaming and social media activities. Students are enjoying their education, the new way.
Some parents were sceptical about online sessions; issues like cyber security were a major concern. Our team counselled them to allow their children to attend online classes. Many parents appreciated our efforts and even wanted us to arrange a virtual visit of their school as many students missed their classrooms, teachers and the school environs. We arranged the same after the unlock phase, leaving everyone delighted.
“To the world, you may be just a teacher, but to your students, you are a hero.”
We educated our students about ways to prevent the spread of the virus and positively influence their family and community. We were in touch with them constantly, filtering out misinformation and fake news.
On one hand, our teachers did their best to teach students online, on the other, we were grappling with financial issues. Some parents were not paying fees, making it difficult to manage the salaries of teachers & non-teaching staff or meet school maintenance expenses. Our school management played a pivotal role to appreciate and motivate our team to continue with their teaching, with the same enthusiasm, in trying times. The school management did not allow anyone to suffer financially during this pandemic, standing by the staff, like a rock.
Ready to Tackle
It will be a great challenge for us to resume physical classroom teaching when schools get a green signal to reopen. We must create a healthy atmosphere, take all health precautions, safeguard essential services and encourage healthy behaviour. We must strictly follow the protocols of social distancing and adopt good hygiene practices.
As far as academics is concerned, we are going to emphasise on practices that would compensate for lost instructional time and revisit concepts that need attention. To conclude, education is a passion and we will not leave any stone unturned to ensure that our students receive best education always.
Dr. Hetal Parikh
Greenwood International School