A Science Teacher, Content creator, constant Learner and a Mother.
My Journey from Classroom Teaching to First Online Class
Never in my wildest dreams did I know a day would come, when I will have to take everything online — be it my classroom, Parent-Teacher Meeting (PTM), counseling my students, regular school meetings, and so on…list is endless.
Those who resonate with my situation will understand, it is not only the child, their parents but also the teachers who had a mammoth leap from simple normal life to a new normal –Online classes.
My entire work was now possible only through a desktop, laptop, etc. A computer was never a necessity for me-- it only helped me to prepare questions, make assignments and test papers, but now, my life was completely entwined in the webs of the internet.
Thanks to pandemic and lockdown.
The year 2020 was a game-changer for all. All we knew to do was now labeled impossible. Everyone was huddled at home- could not risk our lives or anyone for that matter. However, the show must go on. So we all switched to a new norm — online.
Most of the professions could easily switch to online mode but we teachers had a tough time. Trust me! I mean it. We couldn’t have imagined this way of life in our lifetime at least.
I am not a tech-savvy as I am now.
Again! Thanks to the recurring lockdowns.
Trying to see the brighter side of life-- couldn’t agree more.
All lament on schoolchildren’s fate in lockdown but nobody thought about me-- a teacher. I was the worst hit. In a blink of an eye was exposed to tech life. Didn’t even get a breather! For a while, I felt I was an IT professional who mistakably was told to teach.
Life went on a rollercoaster ride. Now, instead of my students, I was attending classes and many a time dozed off during these classes. I could now well empathize with my students.
Attending classes, taking notes, jotting down steps, making flowcharts to understand the concept. Later, checking all the steps and flowcharts on my computer to see if they work. Lots of extra work for me. I was exhausted! Never had I been so tired- head to toe.
“I need a break “, I told myself. However, lockdown stopped me from exploring the outside world. All I could do was take long walks in my green lawns-sometimes lying down on the grass gazing at the sky. It was more relaxing than an outing.
Back to the grind again. After brushing my skills on online classes, the day arrived to deliver my first online class to my students.
I was nervous but pretended to be calm and confident. My first online classes after a fortnight of rigorous training. Students were given a two-week holiday to relax. Kids were excited, so was I, though was knee-deep in apprehensions- what if anything happens? What if I stammer? What if I am not able to operate some keys on the keypad? What if the internet stops? How am I going to handle it if any glitches happen? I was not excited anymore.
I prayed for the online classes to be canceled somehow. It was too late and damage was done.
I was online and could see my students beaming with joy and excitement as they greeted me virtually. They were happy to see me and I could see their parents too sitting beside them with a smile on their faces. I must confess, I was relieved to see my loving students waiting anxiously for me to say something to them.
I said a quick prayer for strength in my mind and then greeted my students. Kids had so many stories to share. I promised to give the last few minutes of my class to interact with each other. All happily agreed. However, it was my introductory class but I wanted my students to get a feeling that I am not new to this ‘new norm’ and have all the skills to teach online.
The first 15 minutes were quick and easy, as I had to acquaint them with what I expect from them and what they are supposed to do during online classes. There were detailed guidelines by the school regarding online classes and I had to brief them. Finally, I was at ease as everything was going as I expected. Little did I know, I was wrong. My desktop went black all of a sudden and I was terrified and clueless.
What just happened?
I didn’t know what to do. No one was at home to help me. What should I do? I asked myself- should I call the IT person of school or should I try to restart my PC. I chose the latter. I kept thinking, all my students are waiting for me online and here I am clueless and unsure as to what to do.
I restarted my PC twice- It took ages to restart it seemed. I hurriedly logged in. 10 more minutes of my class were wasted on this process. I kept cursing myself for the glitch that occurred and my first online class was obstructed. What will I tell my students? What just happened? How will I face their parents who were so eager to witness their lives first online class? What will I tell the school authorities?
All these questions kept banging on my head as I logged in to the class again. And to my surprise, I saw students were busy chatting and greeting each other. Great relief in a way. I told myself, ‘‘ to err is human and forgive divine’’.
Teachers are humans too. However, our calling expects us to be perfect. I too was trying to be perfect if not less. It is a year now, 2021, and I will confidently admit that I have mastered the skill of online classes, learned to be at the comfort of my home, and still deliver my class. I dress up my best for every class and make sure my students are well dressed for the same.
Thanks to Pandemic and Lockdown!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Poonam Francis