Sumitra has been a teacher for eight years with Saraswati Vidyashram. Along with having an excellent command over science, she is also empathetic to her students' learning needs. Things were running smoothly between her and her students, unfortunately our country went under lockdown, toppling Sumitra's world upside down.
The school managed to complete an academic year, however, was still facing a challenge like never before. Due to the looming uncertainty, the teaching faculty was unable to foresee events which lay in the future. After much deliberation and discussion, the school management asked their teachers to start taking online classes to complete their remaining curriculum.
Sumitra was excited! She had heard of schools in big cities using digital classrooms, and now she found a similar opportunity knocking on her door. She knew she could teach well on an online medium, just as she had in physical classrooms. Given her expertise in the subject and years worth of experience in offline teaching, Sumitra was confident she could ace this modern approach too. She, proactively, set up her classroom link and readied herself with the required notes. Unbeknownst to her, taking classes online wasn't the cakewalk like she had imagined.
After logging into her class, Sumitra witnessed utter chaos with students attempting to speak simultaneously and parents communicating via the comments section. Lousy internet connection only worsened the situation further. Teaching amidst this commotion was impossible, which made her helplessly leave the class within mere 10 minutes.
Being a good teacher that she was, Sumitra turned the tables and became a student again in her life. She sought assistance from her school's principal and fellow math teacher, Anupama. The latter had got the hang of online teaching and knew how to make a class more engaging. Sumitra learnt from Anupama a checklist of sorts which she uses before beginning her lectures. This checklist helps Anupama in staying organised throughout her lessons.
Prepare a lesson plan for the class. Due to the limitations and requirements of virtual technology, modify the plan accordingly.
- At least for the first few classes thoroughly discuss and review it from an academic coordinator or another teacher.
- Teaching aids and other resources must be kept ready.
- Writing board should be easily captured by a camera and should be near enough for students to see it.
- Set time limits and stick to them. Allocate time for independent practice.
- Plan exciting activities to engage the students.
- Set norms and reiterate them every day. The students must be on 'mute' till asked to 'unmute'.
- Have a smile and a pleasant demeanour helps a lot.
- Ask a few questions in between.
- Conclude a lesson with a recap and share homework that needs to be done before ending the class.
It wasn't easy for Sumitra. After seeking advice from Anupama, she kept learning a new aspect of online teaching. Regardless, she was happy to ask help and begin this new journey.
Like Sumitra, fantastic educators like you, too, can grow your network and get resources by joining LEAD Teacher's Academy, a group created for empowering teachers.