The article is by Giri Balasubramaniam, noted quizmaster & educator. The views expressed are his own.
Various boards of education across this country, State and Central, have announced their intent to start the next academic year by April 2021. One applauds the concern for learning gaps that need to be addressed with children who have stayed away from school longer than all of us imagined. However, if we pause for a moment and look at the flipside, about where the teachers of our nation stand, here are just 3 highlights of what they have gone through during the pandemic.
1. The school buildings sure closed, but the teachers never closed the learning experience. In fact, they adapted very quickly to a new medium, learnt new tech tools to support their effort, some even invested in hardware and software, just to ensure the learning curve of their school kids continue.
2. Given that this nation is powered mostly by teachers who are women, the pandemic also meant that these women had more people to manage at home everyday. Spouses, parents, in-laws, children at home and children at school, all became part of their responsibility. Not one teacher ever complained to their students that they had no time for themselves. They just marched on as soldiers would.
3. Many schools have faced serious troubles with their finances, coupled with parents unwilling to pay the fees on time. Some governments have even arrived at varying percentages of reduction in school fees. This has resulted in many teachers having to take pay cuts for no fault of theirs. They remained gracious and continued marching on as soldiers would.
As someone who works with schools and colleges very closely, I have two requests for all of us to consider.
1. Can we please rise as a nation to empathise with our teachers and give them a much-needed summer break.
2. Can those of us that can afford to pay the full fee for our child's education, please do so. Let us treat the government offered fee cuts as an option only if we cannot afford to pay our child’s fee.
Let us all acknowledge that everyone has been affected by the pandemic, so have our schools and so have our teachers. Have a heart. Give them a break.