Giving a miss to the chalk and board, teachers—armed with virtual presentations, YouTube videos, and online tutorials—have been waging a battle to adapt to the ‘new virtual world’ of students, just like any other Covid warrior, this year.
What makes this virtual bonding unique? The fact that it’s unnatural for students to not rush to their teacher for that compliment or complaint, and it is unnatural for teachers to be talking to the students under the peering glances of parents, being interrupted more often than not and giving up their privacy. Yet, teachers have played along and so have the children. Twenty-20 is how teachers and students see this year—a match wherein within a specific time they had to complete the overs (read syllabus) and despite the huge pressure, it has been turning out to be an exciting and fun game!
Times NIE asked teachers on this special day to tell us about their ‘Twenty20’ bitter-sweet experiences and this is what they had to say:
Acing the art of muting and unmuting
“The new normal has transported teachers to children’s homes and vice-versa, promising excitement and fun in classes, much like Mary Poppins and the Banks children. One amusing incident that is still etched in my mind from early online classroom days is when we were yet to be accustomed to muting and unmuting our mics. Thanks to the cameras, we were visible on-screen mumbling something funnily but were not heard because we often forgot to unmute before speaking. The episode keeps repeating, perhaps to prompt us to think before we speak, something we should bear in mind at all times, but hardly pay any heed to.”
Simpy Dadiala, teacher, Delhi Public School, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi
Lost in Translation
At 7:50 am, I was ready with my laptop and was assigned class XII students and had to teach them an important chapter "The Third Level". By 8:05, my class attendance was listed by Google Meet, though the whole class could not join, and the reason stated by my WhatsApp's notification bar was 'network problem'. However, I carried on hoping others would join in too and started with a prose reading session; I moved on to explain the whole chapter. I started affirming if students could hear me and moved on to the last para. Just when around 8.42 I was about to call it a wrap, I saw 150 WhatsApp messages reading "ma'am, you have been disconnected for long'. This is when I missed the good old physical school the most.
Swagata Banerjee, Teacher, BDM international, Kolkata
I had to take a class with students of Std 11 and had prepared some contents for them. I asked students to keep their cameras on so that they could engage with me. Suddenly, I heard a meow and then some purring noises. I scanned through the video frames to catch the student and then found they were two separate cats with two different students competing online on who could sound louder! The class was in splits. So was I.
PS Chauhan, HOD, English, The Asian School, Dehradun
During one of my online lectures. I saw something was moving on one of the student's screen. Then I realised it was a cute dog (Siberian Husky). As I called out the name of the child, he started to search here and there for the caller and looked at us on the screen. Actually, that made the entire class happy and excited. And it was something which would never have happened in a traditional classroom.
Ritu Sharma, educator, St Kabir School, Ahmedabad
The mystery guest
Once when the class was on, our Principal's name came up asking permission to join. I allowed her to join. Then I carried on with the class, a bit nervously, thinking that ma’am was present. Later, after the classes ended, I inquired with ma’am any specific reason she wished to join in, only to know she never did so. Am assuming it was a prank but could not help but feel wary of the unknown ‘online intruder’ walking into my classroom again.
Beena S, MGM Model School, Ayiroor, Thiruvananthapuram
Virtual wishes, real love
So, one day, as usual, I started my online class. About 15 minutes into the class, suddenly all the students switched on their cameras and started singing Happy Birthday to me. Two children were playing the keyboard.
It was a surprise! I was totally overwhelmed. It was probably the best birthday celebration ever.
Nidhi Chaturvedi, teacher, PSBB LLA, Bengaluru