“Out of adversity comes opportunity”- The quote By Benjamin Franklin made practical and true. ”
The years 2020 and 2021 have become unique. With the country grappling the ill effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, challenges which were never thought of cropped up. Our regular day to day lifestyle became the root cause of spread of the disease. The human race which has so far claimed its dominance over nature, was now forced to heed and bow to the perils of a microscopic virus with a single strand of genetic material.
When the lockdown was announced and life had to be a new normal – technology, came to the rescue. With no other option, people from all walks of life – young, old, rich & poor began the use of technology, as this promised a safe and socially distant interaction with zero chance of transmission of the virus. An estimate of 308,000 TB of data was consumed on an average starting from the week of March 22nd, 2020.
As the online classes began, the mundane routine of a morning assembly, the hurried urgency to get to the first period on time and the cacophony of children filling into their benches was lost. The new trend now, was sharing Zoom/MS Teams /Google links to children and ensuring all of them had logged in. The next couple of minutes went in ensuring that all went on mute and we found the appropriate moment to begin the class. For most of us, blackboard & chalk pieces were more user friendly than computers/laptops. The creativity that went onto a chart paper to draw up a mind map/pictorial references was now reflected onto PowerPoint presentations. This new technological advancement had to now cater to 240 million children in the country.
As is the case with any new challenge, several guidelines were put into place by the Union HRD ministry to accommodate the burden of teaching online.
Despite these guidelines being made for the benefit of the young ones, the challenges that cropped up can be attributed to our multifarious diversity, internet speeds and something as basic as having access to a computer. Teachers, students, parents and families have also felt the additional pressures of adjusting to this trend.
Personally for me, this has proven to be a challenge as we have been accustomed to the typical class room environment. I also strongly feel shortcomings like these must be overcome as the virus isn’t going anywhere. While the level of preparation for a class was like the regular ones I have for myself struggled with the presentations, use of MS Teams, sharing of links and internet connectivity issues. We have relied on our families, especially the tech-savvy ones to assist us.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Out of adversity comes opportunity.” We, like the young ones were quick to adapt to the new normal. Lesson plans were drawn, and we aimed at having an interactive session as much as possible. Our lesson plans were structured to meet the requirements of the online teaching. Adding voice modulations, enacting examples and having pictorial depictions have made it easier in understanding.
Looking at the positive side amidst all the negativity, an article mentions one of the twin sisters with a congenital spine defect who’s enjoying classes along with her other normal twin sister. The article goes on to state many examples of children who are now coping and doing well in class. When there are two sides to any coin, embracing the positivity helps. Children too, have not lost their enthusiasm and have participated with great fervor, positivity and enthusiasm during all online assemblies, festive celebrations and dramas.
With the pandemic here to stay, we must learn to be flexible and adapt quickly to new norms. We will teach remotely, learn remotely, work remotely, research remotely and socialize remotely. Innovation is what will lead to progress. We teachers have a profession that creates other professions, and each teacher’s resilience, grit, patience in any situation is unparalleled.
I am sure together we will overcome any challenge and be part of molding young minds who are the future of this great nation. Nothing is more befitting than ending this essay with a quote from Swami Vivekananda, “Arise, Awake, stop not until your goal is reached.!”