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Knowing the Road Ahead

Dr. Anitha Ramachander | Noted Educationist


‘Teachers have three lovers: love of learning, love of learners and the love of bringing the first two loves together’. Scott Hayden.

In recent times, due to the pandemic, the teaching fraternity has been under immense pressure to engage students in academic activities. Teachers would have never imagined that someday they would be required to reach out to their students online, that too under the scrutiny of their overzealous parents.

It is indeed regrettable to see teachers being criticized and derided often. What people fail to realise is that we teachers take up the profession purely out of a passion to impart knowledge and in the process, dedicate ourselves to the noble cause of education. Teachers take immense pride inshaping young minds and it is common knowledge that some of the most successful people in the world have had their teachers for role models. It is imperative that during these challenging times, teachers stay calm and focused on creating a conducive environment to nurture and mentor students.

It cannot be denied that we teachers are lifelong learners and that we encourage the same trait in others. We play a pivotal role in igniting young minds, instilling moral values and social etiquettes besides adopting creative teaching to keep young minds engaged and interested. Schools are slated to reopen during August 2020 due to COVID 19 crisis. During the intermittent period it is essential to upskill to stay relevant.

Our philosophy of teaching are our beliefs and views about what is important in teaching and learning. It surpasses every decision and directs the course of learning in the classroom. When challenged with a crisis, it is possible to recall every aspect of one’s teaching philosophy in a way that’s valuable.

COVID-19 has had several negative rami­cations like pay cuts, retrenchment and delayed salaries. These have demoralized us teachers and has increased the ­nancial burden on our already fragile purse strings. However, despite such challenges, we need to stay positive, focused and motivated. The following remedial steps will ensure that we retain our passion and philosophies.

We need to update the curriculum and make room for digital learning. In the foreseeable future, it is possible that schools will require online learning alternatives. Hence, we should be prepared to impart knowledge in an unconventional manner. Some creative ideas like creating a Facebook page where we upload lessons, host live classes through various modes and communicate with students and their parents through video calls could be adopted at this time. In a world where MOOCs and interactive learning apps are becoming popular, COVID-19 was nothing but a push towards an undeniable change in the education field.

We need to shift the focus to physical and mental health. Coronavirus is on everyone’s minds. Use this pandemic to reiterate focus on personal health and hygiene and inculcate clean and healthy habits by talking about the importance of keeping clean and staying safe. Physical and mental wellness is as important as good hygiene. Encourage students to talk to their parents and share their anxieties with them. Teachers can interact with parents and students with supportive reminders and can offer some suggestions for activities to keep students relaxed and occupied when they are at home.

Help students find online resources. Some students may need additional support or struggle to learn from home. Extend help to such students through one-on-one messaging, video lessons, a curated list of learning sites and online learning opportunities. Make yourself available through video chats or online communication to assist students prepare for tests. The current situation has presented new challenges everywhere including in education. Help students to be more adaptable and prepare them for bigger challenges in the future. Teachers are the mentors and facilitators. Stay supportive always and confident in the delivery of the curriculum, and understand that we are all in this together.

Maintain team spirit. Collaborate and remain supportive to your colleagues. They need help too. This could be helping someone seeking advice. Helping others also helps you. Doing a good deed makes you feel better at the end of the day.

Stay happy and healthy. We need to practice self-care and find ways to stay happy, healthy and relevant in our day-to-day lives. We need to find ways to continue to support one another while remaining optimistic. Let us cherish memories that are joyous and have gratitude for all that we have now. This time is not a blessing to all. Let the world heal. For now, it’s time to replenish our spirits and know things will get better.

We must make the most of it. For those of us who have forgotten to appreciate all that we have, this time, the universe made it happen. Gratitude and hope are the lessons we need to know. This crisis has made us one. This too shall pass.

This article originally appeared in the TeacherTribe Magazine July 2020 edition.

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