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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Luis

Indispensable Effort by Teachers to Teach

Teachers are always known to adapt to situations. They are quick to learn as much as they are zealous to teach. While students are missing on learning, teachers are missing on teaching in the classroom. The personal interaction that the teachers would hold disciplining and guiding the students is being missed. Mustafa Ataturk the first President of the Republic of Turkey said, “A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.” And our teachers are doing their every bit to impart knowledge to every child. For some, it might just be a profession but to those I know it is a passion.

The lockdown and the pandemics’ traumatic impact have made it difficult for the teachers to think differently but some of them haven’t stopped. From employing new techniques to making it easier and fun learning for students, the teachers have gone a long way.

If a student wants to learn the student usually employs every technique she or he has unless and until the student has some untoward situations and difficulties. The tech-savvy students have checked for the best of courses on the internet and registered themselves. “It is time for learning by doing,” said Rolita Judy Pires (Rosary Higher Secondary School, Navelim) recommending further that, “The students can make use of Open Educational Resources (OER) like Diksha, Khan Academy, Patshala, TedEx and lots more.”

Others have taken to reading books intensely. “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body,” wrote Joseph Addison, an essayist, playwright, and poet. I remember reading the boy who harnessed the wind William Kamkwamba, he would sneak into the library, read and learn even after having been barred from school. Thanks to the librarian. He learnt to build a windmill by reading books. Ofcourse he didn’t remain with just reading books he went out and then started to build it. But the process began from his effort to learn by reading books.

Teachers encourage reading these days like Delilah Pacheco (Parvatibai Chowgule College, Margao) by holding online book discussions introducing readers and students to new genres and perspectives. It also encourages healthy discussions, building, and maintaining a network of readers all over Goa at large. The lockdown and the pandemic have pushed the teachers nonetheless in a very uncanny situation.

Teachers across India have started to prepare videos more intensively than before. “Online classes are good and can enhance learning and pedagogy. It could also be very creative and enjoyable for both, the students as well the teachers,” said Michelle D'Mello (MES College of Arts & Commerce, Zuarinagar - Goa). Online teaching has become the normal. Those who didn’t know how to present themselves infront of a camera found it difficult but they mastered the art. Preparing the schedule and organizing the online classes wasn’t difficult as the teachers would prepare the structure and plan for teaching. After having prepared the video tutorials, the task was to see that it reaches to the potential students.

Some teachers were not convinced with holding classes on social media platforms like Google meet or Zoom because it doesn’t facilitate learning. A large group of students would not allow better interaction or teaching. “There are connectivity issues adding to not all students having access to the internet or the devices,” said Audrey Desouza (Mother of Mercy English High School, Vasco). Some employed the technique of providing study material to students assigning them for self-study.

Evaluation became difficult despite the internet being the saviour. But Andrew Barreto (Parvatibai Chowgule College, Margao) suggests the key is to keep it simple and being flexible when it comes to assessment. His advice to the students is to allocate time to complete the assignments and concept learning while using technology smartly. He further expresses to students, “Teachers are here to help, but they need to know the issues you are facing. Also, understand that teachers may or may not be tech-savvy, so you can help them when you know of better applications /software, etc. Most importantly, it's ok if you are unproductive! Tell your teacher that!! But keep at it - a little step forward is still progress!”

Some of the teachers apart from providing online feedback to students, made themselves available for telephonic and WhatsApp communications like Pratibha Pradhan (Fr. Agnel Higher Secondary School, Pilar) saying, “I made myself available to provide morale-boosting, career and health tips to my students.” Every effort is being made to engage students to study. Now the responsibility to enhance the study lies in the parents who can better monitor the habits of learning of their children. It is not an easy task though. “It would require the parents to maintain a schedule for classes online and in a way incorporate it in the daily routine of their ward,” said Subhash Kamalkar (Dnyanprassarak Mandal’s College, Assagao). The friends’ circle also plays a significant part. Encouraging one another to study and having healthy discussions regarding the subjects studied could be motivational.

All of us are learning, learning to adjust to the pandemic, and all that it has to offer us. Learning is never exhausted. We need to keep learning until we reach our grave. We must salute the teachers for their indispensable effort to continue teaching, even with the discouraging distance between the teacher and the students.

First Published on THE GOAN EVERYDAY newspaper

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