ANUNIDHI SHARMA Teacher, Jain Heritage A Cambridge School, Kondapur
The year 2020 was the year when teachers evolved and a new version of them came into being – ‘GURU 2.0’. It was the year when a new way of education became mainstream. Digital platforms of education have existed for some time but their reach, especially in India, remains a big question mark.
COVID and the pandemic threw life in general and the functioning of schools into turmoil. Schools have not opened from March 2020, since the lockdown was first announced.
School is a temple where the students interact with each other, where moral values are inculcated, where the students develop social skills, develop communication skills, and the spirit of teamwork is developed. Students develop their personality and their character under the guidance and supervision of teachers which leads to their holistic development. This temple has been closed for a long time now and the whole world is eagerly, anxiously waiting for its opening and daily operations. Do students miss the temple? Do students feel the absence of personal touch of non-parent adults/teachers? Does our society miss the impeccable contribution of teachers towards the students?
The young students are bored of sitting back at home. The parents are exhausted from meeting their children’s demands. In the past, many parents were not clear about the critical role played by a teacher. But this pandemic and isolation of the family at home has taught them the unmatchable role played by a guru in their ward’s life.
Parents have realized and they appreciate and express gratitude towards the teachers and have understood that the teachers are the nation builders. There is only one profession that shapes all other professions, whether it is medical or engineering or business administration. ‘Teach from home’ was deemed far fetched and impossible, but look at the scenario today - teachers have learned a lot during the pandemic and have evolved into their next version. They have become more tech-savvy and spent hours learning and getting aware of the digital means of imparting education. This was done with the primary objective of continuing the education of children who would otherwise miss an entire year of their studies. They equipped themselves with the latest technology – learnt newer skills, prepared presentations, screen sharing, scheduling meetings, maintain excel sheets for results, correcting the answer sheets on the platforms like Google forms, sending feedback for each answer sheet received, etc., and even troubleshooting the hurdles faced by the parent and students in attending the classes. Working with a microphone, laptop and the mouse was once the work of a computer teacher. But now even the language teachers use it.
It is not easy for parents to spend the entire day at home with children, keeping the occupied. Even the students have realized the importance of their GURU. Psychology says that even the students need to talk about their issues with nonparental adults who give them a different perspective that a father or mother may not understand. Covid has transformed the thinking pattern of the students, teachers and even the parents in a positive direction. This year has been truly revolutionary in making education digital for a large number of students and taught teachers technical skills they never had. Teachers this year, while taking virtual classes, have done pathbreaking work that has brought meaning to students' life in this restrictive environment which has isolated them beyond any measure. They have dealt with students with more empathy, treating them with leniency, understanding various technical issues they face while taking virtual classes. Teachers could have very well given up saying they were never trained to impart digital training. Instead, they chose to learn themselves to ensure learning continues for students. They stretched themselves to create digital content using applications which they had not used in past. The teachers kept students’ best interests in mind and went the extra mile with a sense of personal responsibility. We should salute their relentless devotion to the profession of education. A new hero has arrived – GURU 2.0
This article originally appeared in the TeacherTribe Magazine July 2021 edition.