I take this opportunity to begin with the words of Stephen Hawking –“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”. Undoubtedly, the community of teachers and the students across the globe has affirmed to be in the possession of higher degree of adaptability during this Covid 19 pandemic.Teachers could shift gears immediately in response to school closures and switch to new modalities of online teaching. Every household turned to classroom. Chalk, board, dusters and practical laboratories got replaced over night by mobile phones, laptops, pen tabs and O-Labs. Students were deprived of the ‘Touch and feel’ of new books and notebooks at the onset of the Academic Year 2020, instead they had to prepare their lessons from the online study material or learning resources.However, this transition has not been very smooth and spontaneous for many teachers and taught.
Maneuvering lessons over online platform requires skillful use of technology and resources, with which many were not prepared or trained. Teachers had to divide their time between rigorous training sessions for creating effective remote learning environment and administer classes for the students and respond immediately to their crisis. ‘Work-Life Balance’ was at threat for all teachers and staff associated with school as there was no demarcation for school/office hours and ‘family time’.
Holding back the concentration for long hours in front of the screen, submission of scanned copy of answer sheets and assignments on time has been a challenge for many students as availability of robust internet connectivity with desired frequency and bandwidth is far and few at many places even today. Though, some students work independently but the sense of alienation and isolation has been a serious impediment to learning for those students who learn better in their community on campus, with easy access to their teachers in person and peer groups. Learning was possible only for students with self-discipline. Distractors were just a click away from the online class and learning resources. Addiction to social media, online game, age inappropriate videos and web series has been an alternate choice to social interactions among peers and playground. Excessive screen time has led to mental and physical ailments among the students of all age group. Sleep deprivation, obesity,poor cognitive ability, impaired socializing skill and low self-esteem are the chief complaints beside spoor eyesight and headache.
There is a light at the end of every tunnel’- with this belief, the academic year 2022-23 dawns on us with hopes as life slowly gets back to its normal rhythm. The city gets painted again with the joyful faces peeping out of the windows of yellow buses early morning. The classrooms, the corridors and the playgrounds break their silence with the effusive voice of our loving children. Helping these children to rebound from pandemic both academically and emotionally should be the priority for school and teachers. To identify the learning gaps and bridge the same to help them cope with the desired standard should be of prime importance across all classes. The counsellors have the pivotal role to play in taking the students out of their traumatic experiences, if suffered during this pandemic.
Parents and we teachers together should join hands to bring our students out of their shell of anxiety and insecurity and restore confidence in them for a better and brighter future.