Grappling with the new reality of online classes, along with the usual classes in school, the divide between work hours and personal time has blurred for most of the teachers. Ritu, a government school teacher in Chandigarh, conducts classes at the school for students till 2.30 pm and then, begin the online classes on the same topics from 3:30 pm.
As per government directives, with the permission of their guardians, students may attend school. However, the online mode of conducting classes will be preferred, putting the onus on the teachers to hold both the modes of classes. While the online classes are concluded till 6.30 pm, the teachers’ phones remain buzzing with the students’ queries on WhatsApp and phone calls until much later.
Many students have access to online classes only through their parents’ mobile phones, the availability of which is usually uncertain. On days when such students get access to a mobile phone quite late, they reach out to ask queries about the lessons and the next day’s classes. “Students reach out to me with their queries till 9 pm. Sometimes, I even get calls and messages of students at 11 pm.” Teaching one lesson at least twice or thrice, in a bid to reach out to all their students — who are also faced with myriad inconveniences, several of UT government school teachers admit that they have been going through a tough time.
“I teach English to classes 9, 10, 11 and 12. You see the plight, after teaching a topic in school, the same has to be taught to students of all these classes again through the online medium. There are times when students call and seek queries at 11 pm too. I have to monitor the online classes of my own children as well. Above that, I carry out household work because my family has not been employing maids at present due to the fear of contracting Covid-19,” said the government school teacher. She added, “There have been days when some mischievous students have sent messages of “Good morning, present mam” at 4.30 am too.”
Some teachers even complain of students sending forwarded messages to the WhatsApp groups throughout the day, despite the teachers’ directing them to not send the same. “In fact, little personal life is left now. At times, some students even call at 11 pm, asking a query. The department must look into it and formulate rules for online conduct,” says Ritu.
IN VIDEO | How teachers are coping with online education
UT Cadre Educational Employees Union President Swaran Singh Kamboj says that he too sails the same boat, faced with similar issues following the advent of the pandemic. “In one class, only 12 students are allowed to sit in order to maintain social distancing. However, sometimes even 30 students come to attend classes, so we make them sit in three different classes. Now you see, the teacher in-charge then requests other teachers on duty who do not have a class during that hour to take classes of students sitting in the other two classes,” he says.
In Government School Dhanas, teachers have devised a way to telecast live classes and record them too, to send the same to students who get access to smartphones later in the day. Principal of Government School Dhanas, Suman concedes that it has been convenient for teachers. “Teachers had to face a lot of trouble, but now some are telecasting their classes live to students who are at home. Since the teaching is being recorded, the students who do not understood the lessons during the class, m ay refer to the lecture again by going through the recordings,” she says.
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