It is just too often that we hear these words work from home (WFH) from the corporate world. We perhaps never imagined that it would ever enter the world of teaching. As an educationist, I believe that we are in the most dynamic space with rapid changes, molding our views and actions, impacting minds positively.
But, sometimes I was envious of the ones who had WFH advantage, which I thought was a privilege .Until… I actually experienced it. Not just me, but all my 300+ teachers in school had a different experience.
It all started when we all got the directive for closure of school just two days after our new academic session started. Two weeks was a long time to be at home. We knew that we had to keep the enthusiasm of the students, for the new academic year going. All that I did was to talk about making a difference to children and their parents and the need to be a learning organisation. Parents who work from home would not be able to engage their child.
Moreover, we are no longer used to spending time in the company of one another. This social isolation is not something we are used to. The teachers then decided to use technology to the best of their capabilities. It was time to start a fresh, think differently, learn something new. We already had our own school app -The Sulonian Quest-which had recorded video lessons for better conceptual understanding. The students were already used to it.
But, for students to have live lessons was truly going to get more interesting. Teachers, who were more tech savvy, began training the others who were not so confident about using online platforms. From Google form for Quizzes and feedback, we explored everything that technology had to offer. I loved the enthusiasm of the teachers. Zoom , Google classrooms, Audible stories, Skype, Hangouts -all of them were used effectively to have love classes. The 12th graders had their regular class time-table being followed. The only difference being that everyone was at home. Teaching from home provided a lot of tools that teachers could use. The teachers used quizzes from Socrative and Kahoot. Amar Chitra Katha series and books online added to the pleasure of reading lighter stuff . A reinvention !
The Year 2 IB students had their mock exams which too we conducted from their homes, with a parent volunteering to invigilate I am sure the parents too enjoyed the new experience .They sat with their 17-18 year olds ,while we watched them onscreen writing their papers . And the corrections too went online. This was the first time we were correcting subjective papers. A whole new experience !
The enthusiasm and the excitement among teachers is truly contagious. They are experiencing new tools , redesigning their pedagogy, rethinking about engagement of students and even reworking their schedules. No longer did I see good morning messages, forwards of all kinds. There were only intellectual discussions. They seem to be at it all though the day. I am left wondering, if they even realise that if they were in school, they would have packed their bags at a stipulated time but now the clock stands still. Going beyond is the new mantra!!!
Sometimes, setbacks make you look at new opportunities to learn. When you have a learning organisation, you will look positively to make a difference to yourself and to others.
(Mrs. Revathi Srinivasan, Director Education – Singhania group of Schools)