Something about the guru-shishya parampara is so abiding; there is a slight tweak in these unprecedented times though – the guru and shishya are sitting at the ends of two different screens. Welcome to the world of online teaching!
While the kids get used to their virtual teacher, especially the younger lot, which is more interested in fiddling with buttons on the phone or laptop, teachers are also trying their best to re-create the classroom atmosphere for kids at home via the virtual world.
Says Satish Thakur, Chairman, Gurukul Peach Valley International School, Rajgarh, Himachal Pradesh, “Desperate times call for desperate measures. And these sure are desperate times, never-seen-before in human history. Yet, I am happy that the teachers have taken up the challenge head-on and are performing their best. Children too are adapting well, despite the rural setting of our school. One problem though is of connectivity, but I am sure that will be taken care of in the coming times.”
There is more to a school than just academics, right? Says Gur Serai, Principal, Satluj Public School, Sector 2, Panchkula, “A school is about social skills as well, something that cannot be taught at home or over the internet. These kids are the future and they must learn how to get along with each other, which will make them better citizens tomorrow.
These are unprecedented times, unexpected and unwanted, but ones which call for innovation, experimentation and co-operation. Technology has come to our rescue in a big way and God-willing things will be back to normal soon.”
Not all children have access to phones or laptops, for some it becomes a struggle to catch up with the teachers
then. How do they cope? Neevi Thakur, science teacher at Government Model Higher Secondary School, Dhanas, says, “Children from middle and lower income groups have issues of connectivity; either phones are not available or there are no computers at their homes. Yet we are trying our best to reach out to each and everyone.”
Students, on the other hand, are taking up the challenge in a positive manner. Mannat Sidhu, class eleventh student, Sacred Heart School, Chandigarh, is happy that she is getting to learn despite staying at home, “Although I am missing my school, learning is not suffering at all.” Anaiya Jhingan, ninth class student, Strawberry Fields High School, Chandigarh, adds, “We are being taught well and studies are not suffering, but there are certain things that cannot be understood online. I pray things get normal soon.”
Her mother, Rachita Jhjingan, is a tad worried though, “One big area of concern for me is that ‘screen time’ of children is getting a bit too heavy on their eyes. In the longer run, their health can suffer. So, fingers crossed, hoping for the good times to return sooner than later.”
What about tiny-tots?
Grown up children are still fine, but it is quite a challenge to teach tiny-tots online. Says Parul Arora, Kindergarten teacher, DC Montessori School, Manimajra, “It is tough, but isn’t everything tough before it becomes easy? We try to conduct classes for these little angels in the evenings, when their parents are back from work. It is much easier that way. Also, special lesson plans are being made to make learning a fun process for these budding scholars.”
It’s a new world, a new normal, a new way of living… so how can children be left out? They are after all the future – the guru-shishya parampara must continue!