The Techie Teacher!

Every test in life teaches and enriches us with new experiences. The current lock down is no different. It has brought with it; its own set of challenges and I share today the trials and tribulations that we went through as educators. ๐Ÿ˜€
The single most important thing for a teacher is ‘portion completion.’ Every teacher worth his/her salt lives, breathes and dreams of completing the portion on time. All their planning, plotting and activities are devoted to and around it. And it becomes the sole focal point in their lives if they happen to teach the X or XII classes as the students appear for their board exams, here in India.
The Corona virus didn’t only put lives at risk with its unwelcome arrival but also put  a spanner in our planning for the new academic year. The educators all around started to look for ways and means of reaching out to their students as the extension of the current lock down seemed imminent. Going online and making the most of technology was the only way forward. And like many other schools we too decided to conduct online classes using MS Teams.
The first thing that we did as soon as the word of our going online made its appearance was to make groups on WhatsApp, the easiest way of reaching out to everyone around. And laced with the only ammunition, our colleagues on WhatsApp group, we embarked on the adventure called ‘Quarantine Classes’.
What do we start with? We did have a training session long ago at the onset of the ongoing/previous?? academic year and most of it was forgotten by now. So, we started with setting up our teams, each one of us had at least one team in our name. Then started the process of tinkering with the application. ‘Learning by Doing’ and ‘Hands on Activities’ became our mantra. We would sit in our homes and share whatever we learnt. There was constant chatting on WhatsApp, numerous video calls, zoom sessions, screen shots being shared and the best “I see this on my screen, what do you see?” Soon enough creating teams and scheduling was learnt. The challenges began now!
How to ensure that the children get what we plan to deliver? Many sessions, hits and trials and much research went in. Mic is mute, video is off, audio is clear, nothing is audible, can see you, there’s nothing on screen, you are looking green, “We can share files on the team’s chat”, “Hey! We can blur the background.”, “You can record the session” and then someone said, “Girls we can beautify ourselves too!” ๐Ÿ’ƒ
Once I missed attending a meeting because I was waiting for the activity to show while working on the laptop with some other thing and realised after the meeting was over that I didn’t click on the join option. Another time I was in a practice session and couldn’t see some colleagues. I was a bit late in joining and was stressed about not being able to see them. With panic rising, I asked why I couldn’t see them and another colleague told me calmly that one had gone to make tea while the other was on another call. ๐Ÿ™„
All the formalities were forgotten. We didn’t mind calling one another at odd hours. There were late night calls about the video sound not being audible when a video was shared, about how to set the time while scheduling a meeting because the time slots are of thirty minutes only, and new friendships were forged in all this conundrum and times of social distancing.๐Ÿค—
We got to attend a webinar in the meantime which also helped but the real test started when we went online to meet our pupils in real. The challenge now was not how to deliver the content but more importantly to ensure whether all were present, there were children being removed from the classroom, I too got myself logged out of my class when I hung up instead of unsharing my screen and once another teacher got herself muted by mistake without realising it. The conversation that took place was, “Ma’am, you have muted yourself.” “Oh God! So, what do I do?” “Ma’am, please unmute yourself.” “How do I do that? Oh! I’m so lost. What do I do?” “Ma’am, please click on the mic in the red bar on your screen.” replied the student patiently and the class went on smoothly. How do I know? Because I was in the WhatsApp group where this conversation between this colleague of mine and the pupils was taking place, while the class was in progress.๐Ÿ˜ƒ
Our students being more tech savvy than most of us, middle aged people, behaved patiently and very maturely as we jump started and continued through the initial days. And now, I just love the way our classes go with lots of aids at our fingertips. So, we zoom through our Teams using videos, PPTs, colourful pictures, whiteboard, MS Word and also showing activities with whatever is handy. Preparing the content for every class is fun and I am learning something new every day. Recently, I thought of using the background effect instead of blurring my background. Incidentally, I was to show them an activity and the children were unable to see it because I had enabled the background effect aka green screen. So, I tried to disable it but could not. I told the students to give me a minute to logout and join again. I kept the video off while I rejoined and heard one of the students quipping if I was making an ‘Avenger’ movie to use the green screen. I simply said, “Avengers assemble, I am back.” as I turned the video on and came on screen like Tony Stark . The silence was deafening. ๐Ÿคฃ
This lock down has taught me that I and others like me can adapt to new technology and adopt it as our baby. It has reinforced my belief that the role of a teacher will never be redundant till teaching is alive and people are ready to try new things and keep abreast with the time.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Neha Mathur says:

    Sona Tai…I got a teacher’s point of view today….this is new for all of us actually…. Ayaan finds it boring ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿ˜€…he only waits for teacher to give assignment so that he can watch videos ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜…but all the teachers are doing a very very good job…๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for appreciating the efforts of us educators. Means a lot!


  2. Neeraj says:

    Thank you Shruti Miss….for your guidance and social distancing k time ki ye nazdikiyan….mai kabhi nahi bhooloongiโ˜บ๏ธโ˜บ๏ธ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A. Shruti says:

      The feelings are mutual. Glad to have found a friend in you. Hum baad mein pakka ek din baith kar gup ladayenge.๐Ÿค—


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