Teachers during the pandemic
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has significantly affected all sectors including the education sector, the agriculture sector, the industrial sector, and our economy in its entirety. This unforeseen virus has single-handedly disrupted the entire world, from every country’s economy to everyone’s professional as well as personal life. One of the sectors which have been deeply affected is the education sector. Schools have been working offline efficiently for a long time and expecting a fluid switch from offline classes to e-learning is not practical. Most of the schools and the students are not well-equipped with technology to conduct classes regularly, administer tests, organise co-curricular activities, et cetera. Teachers now have to work double the amount they did with the same, if not less, salary.
Here are some problems that teachers are facing in our country:
• Technological Gap
On one hand, the previous generation is not familiar with technology and on the other, the present generation excels in this area. All their existing curriculum plans are no longer applicable for online learning, thus, they have had to opt for new timetables and plans which may or may not be favourable for them. Learning your way around new applications, especially at the risk of your job, is not an easy task. Upon that, teachers are also made to feel embarrassed because of their lack of knowledge in this area.
• Unemployment or fall in salary
In these difficult times, teachers are facing financial problems. Due to classes no longer being conducted in many schools or shut down of local schools, teachers and other employees are losing their jobs. The sports department is not engaged in teaching or other activities due to the lockdown and social distancing protocols which do not allow sports. Many teachers have been cut and their work given to others, overburdening them while leaving the others unemployed. Some educational institutions are reducing the salaries of their employees, or simply making them work by not giving them their well-deserved pay.
• Household chores
India, a country which follows a largely patriarchal system, has about 70 female teachers per a hundred men. Women in our country are expected to attend to all the household chores. Many teachers of this age also have kids, whom they need to handle during the classes as well. Thus, teachers, both male and female, are overburdened with work. Having classes 6 days a week and handling your house are not easy tasks, especially with the added stress of the pandemic and the uncertain future.
Students are taking advantage of the anonymity that the internet provides. Disrupting classes, passing snide comments, making fun of the teacher, et cetera are very common these days. Students do it out of fun or boredom, what they do not realise is the deep mental effects bullying has on others. Teachers are already pressurised by the schools and the demand to quickly adapt to new teaching methods, they also have to go through this.
Elementary class teachers are finding it difficult to engage students. Their screen time is increasing and as teaching takes up most of their day, their physical exercise has reduced. Social isolation and all these factors together are negatively affecting our teachers. Let’s take a vow to be kinder to them as they are surely doing their best!