Teachers – Covid Warriors and more

Teacher- What does this word signify? Who is a teacher? A very simple and well–known explanation to this term would be ‘someone who is a giver of information, knowledge or helps others gain certain skills. This pretty much sums up the meaning of the word- Teacher. However, the nuances of this term have taken a fresh turn and gained additional dimensions. 

On 5th July 2020, India celebrated Guru Purnima. India celebrated this day to commemorate the spiritual leaders. In education, this day is of immense significance. On this day, students thank and honour their teachers, and students of fine arts worship their Gurus. Today, this culture has even seeped into our corporate culture, where employees thank their bosses or their mentors for their guidance. Therefore, our culture gives the highest respect to the Guru or the teacher. 

Today the profession of teaching and imparting education has undergone a sudden, drastic makeover. This change brought about by the existing circumstances has made it necessary for teachers to equip themselves with a set of skills that are no longer avoidable. 

Today, a teacher needs to take care of the socio-emotional needs of students and know how to dissipate information that is understood even in remote learning. 

Let’s move our class Online! 

When the need for Online learning fell upon schools with a loud thud, little did the school management and teachers realize that it meant a complete transformation of their teaching techniques and the learning dynamics. 

“Special PPTs for each class replaced textbooks, interactive lesson plans were specially designed for each class, and new Applications were downloaded on laptops. To top it all, this had to be done at record speed. During the initial days of the lockdown we lost sense of time- at night we made the lesson plans and PPTs and during the day we taught”, recalls a teacher of AryaGurukul, Kalyan. 

“It was a new challenge, and we were ready to face it head-on. My laptop, that was earlier used only by my daughter to watch movies, now had a job! She helped me set up the classes initially, but now I can do it by myself”, laughs a teacher from St. Mary’s High School, who used to feel ignorant about the use of technology earlier. 

Pre- Primary teaching going online! 

Little Aryans Pre-K, the pre-primary arm of AryaGurukul came into the online space gradually. “We decided not to hurry and bring in drastic changes for our Pre-primary kids who are still very young. Initially, we asked parents to make them perform some fun activities, art, and craft, public speaking at home, and send us the videos. We then shared these videos on our social–media sites, and they garnered good viewership. This encouraged the children and their parents”, shares Ms. Sapna Uppal. 

A dedicated team of teachers from Little Aryans worked night and day to swiftly create activity-based lesson plans that catered to their theme-based learning experience. The expertise of the teachers and academicians is clearly evident” mentions Ms. Neelam Malik, Director, AryaGlobal Group. Making the sessions online –friendly, interactive, and sticking to the limited time frame was a challenge that was overcome by the team.  

These Online classes are short duration lessons, keeping in mind the implications of screen–time on children. Simple and interesting activities such as making a self- portrait and a family tree helps increase their self- awareness, movement activities like Yoga, dance, and games keep the kids agile. Kids also get a chance to home and showcase their public speaking skills through short videos that they submit in applications such as Flipgrid, through specially purchased logins by the pre-school. 

Teachers- You deserve to be applauded! 

Time and again the teaching professionals have had to fight to get their due recognition. “Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu,” we say, but why is it that in India the teaching staff never receive their due credit? Today, during times of COVID, we salute our frontline workers–our Doctors, our Policemen, our Deliverymen, our Medical store owners. But, have we stopped to think who have prepared these professionals and turned them into able contributors to society? Who are the ones who have built their foundation and helped them acquire the degree for these professions? 

Today, our teachers are working harder than ever, learning new technology, brainstorming on how to make learning more interactive, creating bite-sized lessons, working overtime, and making learning from home, a possibility. 

As everyone’s favorite, Mr. Amitabh Bacchan, once said in his speech on education, “Money, fame, power can all either be stolen or become obsolete, but knowledge can never be stolen or become obsolete. Knowledge only grows with time.” Let us all pledge to support, salute, and recognize the amazing work by all our Teachers and members of the education community in these times.