The News Scroll 09 April 2020  Last Updated at 3:08 pm | Source: PTI

From technological queries to distress calls, teachers struggle with challenges posed by lockdown

From technological queries to distress calls, teachers struggle with challenges posed by lockdown
By Gunjan Sharma & Ananya Sengupta

New Delhi, Apr 9 (PTI) From offering online classes and dealing with anxious parents and students over the phone to simultaneously doing household chores and fearing or facing pay cuts, the lockdown due to the COVID-19 situation has presented its own set of challenges for school teachers.

According to the teachers, parents often call them up with queries around possible fee waivers or concerns over video files sent online being too heavy or online platforms not working due to technical glitches.

Amid extended work hours, fears of pay cuts, should schools decide not to charge fees for the period or in case of a delay from the parents’ end, also add to the uncertainty posed by the nationwide lockdown.

For Ella Joshi, a teacher at a private school in Delhi, a typical day during the lockdown includes recording video lectures, cleaning the house, taking live classes with students, cooking, getting back to the next class and attending calls from anxious students and parents.

"The problem is that students are also not used to this kind of learning. So we have to put in lot of effort only to deliver the lecture and giving feedback to each and every student remains a challenge. It''s much easier in classroom teaching. I record the lectures so students can go back to them whenever they want, send out power point presentation for notes and then take an online session for questions and feedback," Joshi said.

"However, doing this amid all the cooking, cleaning and other household chores is a different challenge altogether. Unlike regular teaching, work hours are not defined anymore," she added.

Amita Sharma, a primary school teacher in north-east Delhi, says it is even more difficult to teach small children online.

"One can still deliver lectures and send assignments to senior children but it is very difficult to attend to primary classes'' children online. There are technological hassles too and lot of parents have not been paying fees during the lockdown so we all have got 30 per cent pay cuts. It is very unfair for us as lockdown has come with similar challenges for us too and financial woes are just adding to it," she said.

While the authorities in neighbouring Gurgaon and Noida have restricted schools from asking for fees from parents, the Delhi government is still deliberating on the issue as schools here have expressed concerns over payment of salaries sans fee collection.

"We are flooded with calls from parents. We understand their anxiety as well but it is an added stress for us to answer queries like whether the fees has to be paid, what all charges can be waived. Sometimes there are calls about assignments not downloading, so there are lot of calls about issues that are actually not under our control. And all this is besides the routine which has just got hectic due to regular online classes and evaluation," said a private school teacher in Gurgaon. She did not wish to be identified.

Another teacher said, "Our school has only credited half salary this month and has assured that the remaining half would come once the fee collection is complete. Parents also have to understand here that while there is a lockdown, classes are going on as usual and it requires even more efforts than in regular classroom teaching".

Pointing out another challenge faced during the lockdown, a teacher at a Noida school said, "Sharing the hardware resources is a big issue. We have one laptop at home, my husband is working from home too and my kids are attending online classes. So, it is a daily struggle to take turns to attend to work. Also laptops are not completely equipped with the kind of technology required to attend a proper class."

"I am sending out assignments on Whatsapp but that also means that I am hooked to my phone all throughout the day because there are feedbacks, queries and much more, so there is a very limited possibility of having a proper routine and maintaining work-life balance," she added.

However, another Noida school teacher said the period would prepare better us for future challenges.

"Once we are technologically sorted and get at ease with teaching and learning this way, we can replicate the same model whenever there is a call for emergency breaks like when pollution levels are high. I experiment during my classes and advise parents to not be with the child during that," she said.

The country is under a 21-day lockdown due to a coronavirus outbreak. However, schools were closed at least a week before the restrictions were announced.

According to the Union Health Ministry, the death toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 166 on Thursday and the number of cases stood at 5,734 in the country.

While the number of active COVID-19 cases is 5,095, as many as 472 people have been cured and discharged and one has migrated, the ministry said. PTI GJS ASG IJT

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI
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