On the eve of Teachers’ Day, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia praised Delhi government school teachers who went beyond their job amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and recounted instances of teachers ensuring online education reaches the most disadvantaged students or by giving their all while working at quarantine centres.
Among those lauded by Sisodia is Sarita Rani Bhardwaj (53), a teacher at the Government Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya at Paschim Vihar, who approached ration shops and courier companies to trace students who could not be contacted.
“Since many students give incorrect numbers, I had a problem tracking some of them. I first tried to find their locations through other students who stayed nearby. When that didn’t work, I took help from the local ration shops and courier delivery persons. After a lot of hard work, I was able to trace all my students,” she said.
Sarita said she gave worksheets in bulk to those students who could not access them on WhatsApp: “I went to a cyber café and printed them at my own cost, and provided them worksheets for a week. The students would meet me once a week to submit them and I would give them fresh worksheets.”
Reena Malik (33), who teaches at Government Sarvodaya Co-ed Senior Secondary School at RK Puram, also faced similar issues trying to find a student whose father was a daily wage labourer.
“My student, Aditi, and her family packed up and left for their village in Uttarakhand during the lockdown and it was impossible to trace her. She is a remarkable student, so I didn’t want her to lose touch with studies. I kept making enquiries and it turned out she had contacted one of her classmates through her mother’s phone. When I contacted her, she told me she didn’t have internet connection so I would get in touch with her every 5-6 days, but now the frequency is higher,” she said.
Though his subject was not among the online classes, Rajendra Prasad Sharma (51), who teaches Sociology at GBSSS, Jharoda Kalan, decided to ensure his students don’t lose touch with the subject: “My subject was not among those for which online classes are being conducted. But I didn’t want my students to miss out on their studies, so I started making audio notes and sending them to my students. Later, I prepared PDFs for them.”
Away from the world of academics and assignments, Alok Kumar Mishra (36) fulfilled his duty by serving at a quarantine centre in Narela, where a large group of Tablighi Jamaat members were also staying.
“We stayed in a makeshift tent outside the quarantine centre, and our job was to be there for those inside the centres and tend to their needs. We worked 8 am-8 pm one day, and then 8 pm-8 am the next day. During Ramzan, nights were especially hectic because of Iftar and early morning sehri. But it was a learning experience for me,” he said.
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