Since the time my second child was born I used keep saying that there will be a year when both my children will give board exams one will be in 10th and the other will be in 12th.. if you are aware of the Indian education system I am sure you will understand what kind of pressure a parent will feel. I used to say that this year would be very difficult one for me.. And as they say what vibes you send out to the universe.. The universe strives to bring it to you…
So here we step into the new academic year in the first week of March.. books bought, tuition in place and school starts in full swing…
But we didn’t know the actual meaning of difficult till we reached mid March.. schools shut down indefinitely.. Offices declared work from home and then came the total lock down.. yes the dreaded Covid19 was here. The complete effect of this virus on our life is still not known. How it is going to change the normal life and what will be the new normal after the pandemic. I am just targeting one aspect that changed on our lives..
The schools waited for a week or so and then decided to move to online classes. Suddenly the names like zoom, google hangouts, Google meet etc became the new buzz words in every household.
People talked about rationing supplies we started by rationing the WiFi too. See I am working from home, my husband has a business which anyways he manages from home, both my children have online classes for 5-6 hours everyday and then way down the priority line are my in-laws who need their basic dose of WhatsApp and YouTube etc.. one laptop and one desktop and 5 mobiles all trying to milk as much as possible from the WiFi router..
Then comes the actual classes. My heart goes out to the teachers. Poor things most of them are not tech-savvy. And they have been thrown into uncharted territories because of this lockdown. After a brief online training they have been asked to conduct online classes for children studying in 10th and 12th.. And these children are anytime more tech savvy and inquisitive to know new things . I have seen the boys looking for new ways of troubling the teachers. On day one innocently the teacher gave admin rights to all students. Children didn’t put their mics on mute so there are random talks in between the class. Then children realized that they could scribble random things on the screen and teacher doesn’t come to know who has done it.. The teacher who was in complete control of her class in school is now at her wits end.. finally admin rights revoked and mics put on mute etc.. Random cases of students playing music in the zoom class happened.. yes they were doing all this just for the fun of it as they were discovering new features of the app.
Teachers are recruiting their family members or friends who know these apps. They are in the class only to maintain the virtual discipline and not allow any student to take advantage of all the features available.
There are a few teachers who know this new area well like the computer teacher who is using Github where the children upload their Java code and she can execute the program and check it for errors etc. And she is also using Discord for her online classes. I had seen children using discord only for online gaming and chatting till now.
Students are also overloaded with these classes not only does the school have online teaching after that the tuition and coaching centers have their own lectures online. My son entered the tuition class of his friend today to make mischief as his friend was getting bored. I am not too proud of it and I gave a piece of my mind to him today hopefully he does not repeat it. But I am still surprised and by the ingenuity of his approach. The virtual classroom was locked(yes apparently you can do it). So to get in first he told his friend to leave the class and then ask the teacher to unlock so he can enter. Once the class was unlocked both of them entered. The teacher is teaching and he started his own screen sharing where the other kids also started scribbling #no studies etc. Every one is laughing and the teacher is frantic. Eventually he caught this stowaway and kicked him out. So now he can’t enter the classroom room as he has been kicked out. My son and his friends are working on a way out of this predicament too.
The teachers have to be on their toes. They have to upgrade their online skills. Remember these children will always be one step ahead. Here’s wishing more strength to the teachers to handle their virtual classrooms.
As my son pointed out today to me that it’s a cruel world out there and only the fittest survive.
But I am sure the teachers will cross this little hurdle soon. And someone somewhere is already listing out the online class etiquette and tips and tricks to master these virtual meeting apps.