The COVID-19 pandemic and following lockdown brought about a major change in the working of education systems in India. With schools having to shut down to contain the spread of the virus, the education system overnight had to shift to an online model. While India has the largest number of smartphone users in the country, relying on them to deliver education services to school children has been not only difficult for students but also for teachers.
Let us try and understand the problems that teachers face while giving online lectures to students.
Inability to provide personal attention to students
Personal interactions play a major role in the overall development of children. Teacher, by speaking to a student, can figure out the subjects or areas that they need help in. However, in an online class, when there are so many students, all sitting in a different, detached atmosphere from one another and from the teacher, having personal interactions is not possible. Therefore, the teacher cannot efficiently pay attention to each student personally. In order to achieve that, the teacher would need to take out extra time and make an effort to speak to every student apart from school hours. This is tedious and time-consuming for the teacher and even then it is not effective enough.
Limited meaningful interaction
In physical class, the teacher can encourage a lively discussion about the topic, have students answer questions and even then control the class decorum. This is rather difficult in an online class because raised hands are not visible, and so such interactions can’t happen without creating chaos. These conditions are also unfavourable for the teacher to test and find out if all of the students have understood the concepts with clarity. Therefore, the students who in fact did not understand the concept may develop a weak foundation which may affect their understanding of more complex topics at a later stage.
Problems with technology
Internet infrastructure is not very well developed in schools in India. The teachers mostly rely upon manual classes and use boards to explain the topic to students. Usage of technology in school is often limited to computer teachers. The teachers are therefore not very tech-savvy to deal with online conferencing calling and related shenanigans. This hampers in the class proceedings many times, as teachers cannot resolve the technical issues they may face while the class is going on. Teachers are also unable to deliver the topic effectively as they may not have equipment such as mike or headsets, that would improve the sound and voice clarity for students. Many teachers do not have a stylus, so creating a virtual board to explain is out of the question. And they also are unable to prepare effective PowerPoint presentations for students to teach them a topic. The teachers constantly struggle with these things.
Harassment from Students and Parents
The job of teachers is not easy, especially conducting classes online for students who are not yet mature to deal with such a mode of instruction. As the issues occur, the teachers bear the brunt of parents who complain that their wards are unable to learn effectively. With no fear of punishment, the students too do not carry themselves with appropriate conduct. This is utterly disrespectful and traumatic for teachers.
Nuisance by students
A video of a student putting up a picture and name of Jethalal, a character of the popular TV show, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma, in a live class conducted on Zoom platform had gone viral a few months ago. The case while many found it funny, was anything but that. It created unnecessary nuisance in the class, which was totally uncalled for. The instance was not rare. Students, with no one, to actually reprimand continue to disrupt class constantly by making noises or playing such pranks. The online lectures barely have 10 minutes of serious studies out of an hour. This is a lot of waste of time and energy for teachers.
These problems are relatively lesser for students of higher classes or graduation, as they have a level of understanding and maturity. However, for lower classes, the teachers are struggling a lot with no one being empathetic to their situation and no one thanking them for their effort. This teacher’s day, let us change that and thank all the teachers of the country for not giving up on their students even as the going got tougher and tougher.