Quarantine – State or period of isolation. I hadn’t ever come across this word before the pandemic COVID 19. The world’s huge crisis right now we can say so. It shook us all and most importantly taught all of us some lessons.
Initially, I use to hear news about the pandemic spreading quickly in Wuhan, Italy and many other places getting badly affected by it. Never had I thought that India will be next in the list, following a lockdown and getting affected by COVID 19.
And there we were, announcing lockdown, closing of schools, colleges, universities, restaurants and many more things. Yet no one had ever thought that this lockdown will make everyone’s life standstill. As if someone had just pressed the pause button to avoid the bad or sad part in the movie or a book. At the initial phase, it all seemed quite relaxing and worth it like a break from the routine life. Slowly and gradually it started being difficult, passing time was tough and managing all the work by ourselves.
Several things were affected and so was everyone’s routine life. Starting with, we had to make the immediate shift to virtual learning, using online platforms to continue with the sessions with our students. I was quite sceptical with the whole idea that ‘How much effective is this going to be?’ With innumerable questions and doubts, we started prepping up for the online sessions, training parents through video tutorials, bringing them on the same platform, explaining them the whole idea and how everything was going to function.
The next struggle or the big question for all of us was “How are we going to make sure that our 8 or 9-year-old kid, don’t easily lose interest or deviate from the learning?” We knew how lockdown had impacted the adults, putting a full stop to the routine life or social life and being trapped in the house for the whole day. What kind of emotions we were all were experiencing. Similarly, the kids at the same time were also going through the rough patch. An 8 or 9-year-old kid being trapped or locked in the house with restrictions of not playing outside, no running around or cycling, they had their own sad story.
We had to remember to stick to our core purpose while shifting to online learning. We started exploring different resources for planning activities which would keep our learners engaged and at the same time continue with the targeted learning. For the first two weeks, half of the class attended the online sessions but with constant phone calls to parents, emails and explanations, later on all my 25 students were attending the online sessions. Something that amazed me was, my students, maintained the same discipline and decorum during the online classrooms, keeping their audio mute, patiently listening to the instructions and pouring in discussions turn by turn.
We continued with our subject online sessions and soon the co-curricular sessions started as well. Students and teachers were on toes. We were following a timetable and never for a single second I felt bored or irritated. Something crucial was following school timetable, taking online sessions, managing and coping up with household work with no maid and cooking. It had taken quite a toll but somewhere was learning every day something new. Not only this, but we had arranged advisory meetings with our children, where we just one on one talked with the students about their routine, their feelings and everything. Students use to wait for it.
The academic year came to an end and we received e-mails from parents, appreciating the teacher team for such strong planning that students not even once complained to their parents about getting bored or going out to play. And that was kind of a victory for us.
Something important for us as educators which made our journey smooth was our bonding with our students. The bond, the relationship, the rapport that we build with our students during the initial days of the new academic year is essential. Everything revolves around how you spend your first six weeks of school with your classroom, with your students. Spend time in knowing them, mingling with them, designing the day in such a way that you and your students both get plenty of informal time. Once the routine is set and you have set the environment, the whole year is going to be smooth.
Definitely, as educators, do spend some time reading First Six Weeks Of School.
Last but not the least, it was a great learning for us as well as students during this Pandemic. It affected us in positive as well as negative ways and it will always be a story or an experience worth sharing.