From teaching online to teaching on a field, the education sector is witnessing a lot of change in a very short amount of time during the pandemic.
Take Carmelina Rodrigues, an English teacher of Pragati Vidyalaya in Ponda, rural Goa, for example. Rodrigues gets ready in the middle of the night to record tutorial videos for her students. She was heard telling the Indian Express that, “My school children know me as a bubbly teacher. I would never want them to feel I didn’t make an effort. I can’t look shabby or like Einstein with hair all undone. We have to connect through everything…everything visual, even our emotions.”
The reason Rodrigues records at night after spending hours of research is to avoid any kind of disturbance from her family members or noises from the street and surrounding. Such teachers, who had no idea about computer and technology until now, are suddenly becoming tech-savvy for the sake of their beloved children. How inspiring!
Kalyani Joshi, the in-house computer teacher talks about having to train the school teachers when classes began to go online. She said, “It started with teaching them how to open Gmail accounts. Then came training on how to upload videos, use virtual classrooms, and use links to upload and talk to students.”
On the other hand, there are also rural areas like Dahod in India where a majority of children do not own smartphones to be able to stream educational shows started by the government. And that’s where the role of teachers like Pravinsinh Jadeja, from Zerjitgadh village, begin.
He wakes up early every morning and walks miles to collect his students and make them attend open-air classes using his smartphone. The classroom location changes every day, sometimes it’s someone’s backyard, other times it’s under a tree near a farm field. Jadeja is seen going out every morning gathering a few of the children from class 3-5 along the way so as to abide by social distancing norms and then set up a classroom in his village.
In his smartphone with a fleeting network and difficult buffering issues, he plays online classes that are started by the government in order to help students continue education even in the lockdown. Due to a lack of electronic resources, out of 80+ students in the primary school of Zerjitgadh village are unable to take advantage of the educational programs.
“We have been with these children from the time they started going to school, and we want them to be a part of this new learning process,” said Jadeja.
According to the school principal Somsinh Mohaniya, the major task of teachers is to locate the students, many of whom accompany their parents or grandparents to farms. "Another challenge is to keep them involved as the idea of learning from a phone is new. It is also important to ensure that they understand what the educator is saying," he explained.
These educators are not necessarily doing too well themselves, but regardless they want to be present in their student’s lives and keep supporting their dreams no matter which virus strikes.
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