Introduction A very famous CBSE school of Chennai, that had produced CBSE rank holders in the past, was in the news for totally wrong reasons. A teacher was accused of sexual misconduct with some girl students during the online sessions. The issue became wide open in social media. The teacher was arrested. In another school in Coimbatore, a girl, unfortunately, committed suicide, as she was unable to bear the constant sexual misconduct of a male teacher. The police have already taken action and the law will take its own course.
In the current pandemic, it is suggested that school teachers should a) Always monitor attendance of students b) Never stop revising the lessons c) Be informal but do not get personal with students d) Try to make students study offline in small groups, and e) Innovate in teaching methods.
Always monitor attendance of students The teachers need to be very careful to monitor the attendance of students. The teachers do complain that students just bunk the classes or sing during the classes or attend the classes in a lying position. All these are instances of indiscipline. These acts of behavior only show the indifference of the students. Those who do not attend the classes should be reported to the Management and the parents need to be informed immediately. This is a top priority.
Never stop revising the lessons Since the face-to-face contact is near zero, or total zero, the teachers should never stop revising the lessons. A recap of the lessons covered on the previous day will help the students to refresh their memory and become active participants. This is all the more important in the subjects like mathematics, as the students always note down the various steps used by the teacher to solve any mathematics problem.
The teachers in the social science subjects should also revise their portions, as there will be tendencies of some students to take it easy. There will be a big change when the teachers regularly revise their portions. For one, the students are bound to share their experiences with their teachers. Secondly, there will be renewed enthusiasm among the students to share the lessons with their peers. These two experiences have been reported in a number of cases.
There are some pockets where the classes have resumed. However, the regular sessions have still not started and in States like Tamil Nadu and parts of Andhra Pradesh, the classes have been greatly disturbed by rain. Only online classes are going on for the primary sections and, in many cases, up to the eighth standard.
Be informal but do not get personal with students The two CBSE schools in Chennai and Coimbatore that were referred to have now become extra careful. All online classes are recorded on video and numerous checks and balances have been introduced as well. However, one complaint that is increasingly being heard everywhere is the tendency of the teachers to become very personal, as there are conversations over cell phones much more today, than ever before. There are reports that teachers are becoming very personal with students. This should be totally avoided. When the teacher does show interest, that has to be totally limited to his or her role as a teacher and never go beyond the confines of what has to be taught.
Try to make students study offline in small groups This is important too. In some places in India, there are children who stay in the same locality or in the small towns, or in a cluster of two nearby villages. As such, though there are still online classes in many places, with the reduced fear of Covid-19, there is every possibility that the students can join together in groups and do some small project work or brainstorm on any topic of just studying the regular portions together. It is quite possible for the students to be encouraged to face each other and gather together will all safeguards like wearing masks and ensuring the social distancing as well. Since this is quite possible even on the terrace of an independent house of a student, the scope of such group study, in small groups of just four or five people, can indeed add substantial value to the teaching process.
This becomes very important as the public exams are likely to be conducted offline from the year 2022 onwards since the Covid-19 pandemic is now under some good control.
Innovate in teaching methods It is quite possible to innovate in the teaching methods. For example, since the internet penetration is good in most small towns, it is quite possible for the students to access the internet and collect information on some topic or even listen and view some YouTube videos and give their opinions on their learning. This is what has been done for the plus one students who study through the Tamil medium in a semi-urban area. The teacher motivated the plus one students to watch a couple of You Tune videos on sustainable development and come up with their own understanding of the concept. The students were immediately able to connect the learning to the organic farming methods, as a good number of the students were from farmer families.
This sort of learning is still rooted in traditional culture and has the potential of making the students think out-of-the-box, over a period of time. Such innovations should be tried out.
Conclusion Given the current reality that the online method of teaching is likely to be more relevant for some more time, the teachers in schools have a vital role to play, as they have some challenges. The five major things to do have been discussed in some detail, based on feedback from some teachers and based on their experiences. One can only hope that such experiences will become far more meaningful in the years to come, when the online method of teaching will still become a way of teaching in schools, in most parts of India.
The author has brought out some good points regarding managing online classes in this difficult situation. This is definitely a new situation for the teachers and they have to manage it in a professional way. There are definitely challenges in this online mode because the students are not physically available near the teacher and the teacher has no way to find out whether they are really serious and attached to the lessons attentively or not. They have to devise ways to keep the interest of the students to the classes and for that, they have to continuously involve them by giving daily homework and giving them feedback on their assessment. It is obvious that the teachers have to have a continuous connection with the parents also so that if there is any gap in between it can be removed. It is clear that in this unprecedented situation the responsibilities of the teachers are significantly increased and they have to prove themselves as competent at such a level.
Yes. It is a real tough time for the teachers to conduct online classes as they are not accustomed to such teaching or they were never given such training also. When all the students are sitting before the teacher, monitoring them is easy but the same is very difficult online. A teacher should make good presentations during online teaching so that students will show interest in the class and learn with concentration. Showing some models and examples online to the students will also make the student be more interested in the studies.
The teachers who behave badly with the students should be punished and strict action should be taken against them, but the author never mentioned the behavior of these teachers in a normal classroom.
The online studies has become the big challenge for the teachers as manning the students in remote way is not possible and some students are playing trick by not switching on the video and thus taking the advantage of electronic advancement. The attendance of students must be taken daily. The teacher should start with the last lesson that was left over so that the student get the right connectivity and would not forget the lesson taught earlier. The teacher must check the tasks given the previous day and that would give better indication as to how the online teaching was taken and understood. A teacher must always be ready to clarify all the doubts even if it was not in the syllabus because some times extra knowledge would make the students understand the lessons better.