(Written by Sarika Dhupar)
Teachers are the guiding light in this vast sea of arrogance, ignorance, misbeliefs, helplessness and illiteracy. At times, teachers also feel lost into the wilderness of half baked knowledge and rigid attitude of the stakeholders. Their confidence is shaken by the bouts of blows from unexpected changes in their environment. Even then, the teachers, the enlightened Gurus find their way out with their torch on by virtue of their vast experience and utmost desire to help their disciples and society at large.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the very roots of the education system. Till this global pandemic, we have been talking to our students, mentoring them and tutoring them using chalk and board in the class rooms. And suddenly we were awakened to a new normal when we were asked to connect to our students using means such as WhatsApp, virtual classes, online classes using platforms like Google, Zoom and Webex, and mobile applications etc. We, immediately rose to the call and since Lockdown 0.1, have been grappling to string up the loosen beads and keep the cycle of education going.
Most of us were not trained on making use of digital technology for imparting instructions and reaching out to students. Though caught unaware and at back foot, we learnt and devised best of the methods to fulfil our mission of imparting lessons to all students on equitable basis. As warriors, we took to online teaching, shared notes, and sent assignments to our students. This transition from routine classroom teaching to online class was not very smooth. This sudden shift over to a completely online format had proved to be a real roller coaster ride. Teachers, being the nation builder and future enabler have to shoulder great responsibility. They say that a teacher is a preacher, a motivator, and a torch bearer so how could we just lay back and accept our defeat? We were bound to rise, shine and bounce back. We had to discover the new ‘modus operandi’. We had to fight it out. And so we did and we did this to the best of our wisdom, knowledge and capability.
For a long time, our pedagogy required us to be tech-savvy but now we had to adopt the role of purely being online instructors and facilitators. Being the subject experts, we already had the knowledge. We just had to adapt to the technical mode of delivering the content which we gradually did after learning the tricks of the trade and that too on our own.
We managed to shift fast, courtesy the help by family kids, guidelines by our department, hit and trial efforts and constructive feedback from our students. And here we are, en route to becoming the 21st century teaching models, may not be the perfect ones, but certainly ones to keep the cycle of education moving ahead effectively.
We were attacked, both verbally and in print. We were blemished, belittled, mocked at by many nasty memes and jokes. We were made to appear as ‘Being Exposed’ on social media for our lack of some additional skills.
But we bore it all with grace and resilience to overcome our shortcomings. We are learning to teach online, learning to develop and deliver the E-content, learning to collaborate online with our students in this new EduTech era. Our ‘Never Say Die’ attitude has helped us to continue moving ahead despite all the obstacles. Little has been talked about us and the role we played during these difficult times, no media coverage, no stories in the newspapers or social media. But that has not faltered us from doing what we are best at.
We, the Teachers, are fighting like warriors against the unseen enemy (COVID-19) and its varied implications. The ‘New Normal’ spreads out before us like the EduTech system of education, work from home scenario, maid-less homes and so on and so forth…but I am sure we will come out winners. We have to fend for ourselves against all challenges and uncertainties. We have to fulfil our responsibilities as teachers and path finders. We will keep producing the best talents, honing the skills of the multitude. We will keep on moulding best human beings that will rise to a new world, a new dawn. but along with that we have to shoulder the responsibility of being the guiding lights for many. We are the Torch Bearers. We are also the warriors, the ‘unsung heroes.’
(Sarika Dhupar is a Biology Lecturer at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 19-C, Chandigarh)
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