It is not Work from Home for Women Teachers, They made to do Double The Work.
Team Haryana First
Teaching has never been easy. Today, it has become challenging in Online Classes. It’s the first time in ages that the teacher has been put to test. And what does their Progress Card read?
It’s been a mixed bag till now. Teachers, especially, in smaller town of Haryana, aren’t comfortable. A principal, not wishing to be named, said, “Online classes are tough on teachers, especially those who been using the traditional method for decades now.
Secondly, it exposes teachers to a new world where every word and action is being watched. That is a little uncomfortable for teachers and very few are equipped to handle such situations. That is the reason majority of schools prefer to send homework via whatsApp along with links of online videos.”
It’s not easy to overcome the fear of camera and standing exposed right in front line of fire. The ghost of online classes has had its share of victims, as many teachers opting out.
Sunita, with over two decades of teaching behind her, resigned when her school decided to start online classes. “Not in my dreams did I imagine such a situation. I have been with the chalk-board method all my life. Online classes are something else. Too many things are to be done at the same time. Facing the camera is a new and difficult experience. I wasn’t comfortable with the idea. All of us have our fears. this was mine,” she says. Change isn’t always easy, she accepts. She looks to join back once the schools reopen.
Says Ram Avtar Sharma, General Secretary, Federation of Private Schools of Haryana, “A vast majority of schools continues to use traditional methods of classroom teaching. Over the years, teachers too have developed this set mind set. This is the first time our teachers have been exposed to such a challenge. Unable to cop up, many teachers are opting out of the profession.”
Salary is another issue why the online classes aren’t sounding a good idea.
Most schools are paying 50% or less. And that too after a couple of months. In some schools, there is no guarantee. Teachers don’t think the effort is worth the salary.
Then it isn’t really work from home, especially for women. If you are in school, you are there. But when you are at home, there is too much on hand to do. And the online system consumes lot more time than it actually sounds.
However, the younger generation of teachers seem up to the challenge and are in fact enjoying the experience. They have command over their subject, are super confident, love facing the camera and are technology friendly. “It’s fun. It’s so much convenient. I save so much time and I can teach online whole of my life,” says Anil.
Vidyantriksh Senior Secondary School is conducting online classes for almost 3 months now. Says its founder Dr Aarti, “When we realised that it was going to be a long haul with Corona, we immediately opted for the online classes.”
However, the tougher part was to get the teachers do it, especially since it was the first CBSE School in the Bhiwani city to start the online classes. A couple of teachers resigned as they were not confident.
“It is never easy to suddenly adapt to a new system of teaching. We are exposing ourselves to the world. And nobody is perfect,” says Dr Aarti. Also, to conduct online class one needs to face the camera confidently, be good at one’s subject, be smart to handle the students’ queries, be technology friendly and monitor the kids simultaneously.
To prepare them for online classes, Dr Aarti had asked them to make videos of them speaking on different topics during the first lockdown.
“We would give them feedback to improve. This gave them the confidence to face the camera, which is the most difficult part of the online classes,” says Dr Aarti.
Then, the school trained the teachers to handle online classes for a week, and conducted mock classes with teachers as participants.
Initially, teachers were provided a technical support teacher in every class. “Today, all my teachers are comfortably conducting classes online,” informs Dr Aarti.
Kanika is almost a decade old in teaching now. She has adapted to the new system of online classes.
“It was tough and challenging initially to accept and then adapt to the new system. But then that’s what education is all about. We need to adapt to new situations and move with the times.” Of and on there is some issue, but she is gaining confidence. “We are still learning and after a couple of months, we will perfect this art,” she says.
Kanika also sees it as a positive development.
“Taking online classes has boosted our confidence. Many of my colleagues feel elated about having conquered their fears. So, yes it a blessing in disguise too,” she says.
Shishu Bharti High School (SBHS) is the only Haryana Board affiliated school that’s conducting online classes in the Bhiwani city.
Its principal Karan Mirg started the online classes with taking classes himself. “Initially, it was storytelling and then slowly we moved on to the subjects. To support and motivate the teachers, he himself was present in the classes.” Today, they are all very comfortable.
To those who say online classes are a futile exercise, Dr Aarti says, “Technology is the future. We must accept and prepare to live with it. More importantly, today we need to engage our children. These classes are also about their mental and emotional wellbeing.” She plans to continue using the online mode in future too.
Education is much more than just the academics. So, online education can never replace the schooling experience. Merits of online classes can be debatable. But one thing can be said with surety- education and teachers are never going to be the same again.