Teachers Experience – Pandemic Edition

It has been over a year since the Pandemic started. Everything is different – teaching, parenting, working, meetings. We live in a world of “the new normal”. Children, parents, teachers, employees, organizations and schools have all adopted/adapted to a new working style. The teacher community, in particular, came out in flying colours.

As a parent, I send my child to school for an education. That school is now in my very house, thanks to the pandemic. Different teachers come and go everyday depending on the day of the week or the timetable. As I observe these classes, I observe not just my son, but the teachers as well. This blog is for the teachers who fought it out during the pandemic.

Read this post to get a glimpse into Parenting during the Pandemic.

1. Technology

Schools used to be analog headquarters. Children used actual textbooks. Teachers taught their classes with blackboards or whiteboards. Air-conditioned computer labs and AV rooms was where the technology was. And then the pandemic hit.

Punch You Oh No GIF by GritTV
KAPLOW!

Physical classrooms turned into Zoom rooms and Google Meets. Pen and paper exams became google forms. Lesson plans turned into excel sheets. Visual aids became powerpoints.

At the beginning of the pandemic, my son’s teachers used a Whiteboard on the Zoom Screen. But, the children were faster. They drew doodles on the screen and contributed to the class in a way that would have been impossible in a physical classroom. So, the teachers eventually shifted to PPT slides – some even converted their slides into videos to discourage doodling.

2. Classes became Sessions

Teachers had to coax children to turn on their videos, respond to attendance calls and orchestrating the mute-unmute buttons. Some of them even indulged in mischief in the chat box. Parents butted into sessions with questions with what they believed was “constructive criticism”. Parents even took to social media to voice their opinions on teaching.

Screaming Internally Paul Pierce GIF by The Ringer
Don’t yell don’t yell don’t yell…

Teachers had to not just teach the children, but maintain balance between keeping them engaged while not overstimulating them. They now needed to encourage interaction, discourage tantrums and maintain discipline. Needless to say, the comfort of home does not encourage obedience in children. What with easy access to a restroom, a fridge and a parent mere feet away, distractions galore.

3. Exams and Correction

Recently, a teacher told me, “Where it took five minutes to correct a paper earlier, it now takes half an hour to grade a paper.” It is such a stark visual image. Where earlier it was a flip of the page to correct a paper; now the arduous task begins with downloading images, dealing with fuzzy/ blurred/ badly cropped images, deciphering children’s handwriting, and eventually scoring the child. Repeat for every child in that section. Again, for the next section. AND AGAIN for the next class.

Stressed Out Community GIF
Inner…peace… Inner… peace…

And it isn’t just the teaching and correction that has been made cumbersome. Even the examination process has taken on a life of its own. My son’s first semester began with oral exams. Then in the second semester, he had written exams. In the third and fourth semesters, it was Google Classroom. The teachers not only had to master this technology within a ridiculously short period of time, but also be able to explain it to parents. Not to mention be the tech-support for any issues the parents face.

These are just a few of the issues that the Pandemic has created for teachers across not just the country but the world over. And teachers who are parents have to deal with teaching and parenting issues at the same time.

A child popping into an office meeting can be explained and apologies can be made. But imagine, the same child popping into the screen while you are taking a class for at least 40 children! You’ll never hear the last of it from the parents!

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