Radha madam continued speaking. She could see some faces on the screen. Most of them had switched off their video. The internet quality was poor.
Jira was late for the class today. He asked his mother to call up the teacher and tell her that there was no electricity and internet at home. He will join as soon as possible. He joined and kept his mic and camera muted. He played with his bat and ball one last time and then went to the toilet.
In another house, Hira was listening to the teacher. He had seen the videos sent by his teacher and had some intriguing questions. He asked a question. Many of his friends did not like it. Why did Hira ask a question? The class would get over quickly if Hira did not ask questions.
Much of the learning happens when there is a yearning for it. Will the students who do well be different – in online classes for students versus classes in the school building? You can take the horse to the water but cannot make it drink.
What does a good student miss out on in an online learning platform? A good teacher is a performer. He or she is not just speaking – but emoting. His intonation, his expressions, his body language – all help the transmission of knowledge. On the other hand – a good student – is not listening with his ears – but acquiring knowledge through all his active senses.
Working in a group sitting next to each other – is another aspect of learning – that is important. While some students may feel safe and not bullied in the confines of their homes – social and emotional learning is an important aspect of learning at school.
One complaint I hear from teachers is that the portion that could be completed has been far less. Also, for subjects that need practice – like Maths, English and other languages were lacking.
On the other hand – I have seen students playing together much more now than ever before - together in the parks and courts. I have seen families attend family functions and weddings – as calluses can also be taken remotely. The reduced pressure from school work has certainly brought out the child and fun in them – which is as much needed as the school education.
So, the big thing is to find the golden mean of what can be the best way to use the school interactions – while not losing the benefits of online classes.
I’d come home and spend most of the evening correcting homework and grading.
‘What the hell am I going to do with two hundred teenagers tomorrow?’ I would hope for a lightning bolt of creativity to strike. During my BEd, I was told to regard each lesson as a polished stone - logically sequenced, caters to all learning types, provides enough wait time, is engaging, and flows seamlessly with the rest of the curriculum.
In reality, despite my best efforts, I was putting something together in my teacher diary for the principal to sign on to. I knew I was capable of doing much better. But I was too worn out to try anything more.
Standing in front of my class – I felt empty-handed. I wished I had more examples to bring out the relevance of learning Simple Algebraic Equations. I wish I had models to show to the students. I believe in “Show Don’t tell!” I wish I had practice worksheets. I wish I had case studies to help children discuss and reflect.
But putting all these together – requires a huge effort. And doing this for 5-7 classes every day for the entire year!
I also wish I had practiced some of my questions to create that magical effect to wow the children! If only I had thought of how I could open the class to smoothly induct the children into the class and then close it with a grand finale!
Nothing like holding the children in rapt attention – from the word go – taking them through an exhilarating journey that fulfills their craving which was created by me and then leaving the little teaser for the next sessions.
Unfortunately – these are all expectations – which are not fulfilled.
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