Teachers Continue to Inspire and Nurture Young Minds in Unprecedented Times

09 June 2020

As keyworkers – along with many others – teachers have demonstrated how vital their roles are in the functioning of a robust society.

Teachers Continue to Inspire and Nurture Young Minds in Unprecedented Times
Over the last few months, there has been greater recognition and appreciation around the world for some of the unsung heroes in our communities, from doctors, nurses, cleaners, supermarket staff to our teachers. As keyworkers – along with many others – teachers have demonstrated how vital their roles are in the functioning of a robust society.

Voicing her appreciation, Reshma Yusuf Shaikh, a parent whose child attends the Diamond Jubilee High School for Girls in Mumbai, now finds herself adopting the role of the teacher:

“Looking at the massive public health challenge of Covid-19, the whole world is feeling unsafe. But even in this situation learning can provide some form of clarity and perspective in our lives.  My daughter is fortunate to be at a school, where the teachers are finding ways to keep children engaged in learning activities. This situation is an opportunity for children to utilise their time with creative work and connect with their families. As a parent, I am getting some great tips from the teachers on how to educate our children about this pandemic, as well as being able to bring about positivity in my child’s outlook.”

Echoing the sentiments of parents, Siri Parvatha, a grade 10 student from the Platinum Jubilee High School in Warangal describes how his teachers are inspiring him to keep the momentum going and continue the cycle of learning. He said:

“Today’s online Biology class really helped recall some key concepts - it is beneficial for us to not forget the previous lessons. It is a whole new, exciting experience to attend the online live classes. I hope these will continue.”

Creating a purposeful transition from the physical to the virtual classroom has been challenging for teachers, who are balancing their own home life, whilst attending to the needs of their students. Their resilience and adaptability in maintaining a rhythm and focus on the education of their students has shone through. Remaining positive, Jamila Suratwala, a secondary teacher at the Diamond Jubilee High School in Mumbai, sheds light on how she is balancing her work and home life:

“Things seemed to be impossible when we were told that we will have to teach online, that we will not be able to see our students sitting in front of us, doing all the mischief that they are accustomed to, helping each other and showing affection towards their teachers. Working from home seemed to be difficult in the beginning but as we took it up as a challenge, things started working out. We started taking zoom classes, prepared google form worksheets, played online games and did much more. Technology cannot replace the human touch, but it can keep us connected. The challenge for me is managing home and work simultaneously. The patience level of my family members has been shaken up to a large extent. It is difficult to be ‘available’ for all of them. Nevertheless, we are all are trying to cope with the current situation and I truly believe that every cloud has a silver lining.”

Technology is not only helping with teaching and learning, but teachers are also leveraging online tools to connect with their colleagues to exchange ideas and keep each other motivated, as Avani Dave, an English environmental studies teacher from the Aga Khan School in Sidphur, said:

“Using technology like Zoom and video conferencing for peer to peer meetings and staff meetings is like dream come true, as we continue to connect and share our best practices with each other. We had never imagined that we would be leveraging technology to this extent in a small town like Sidhpur!”

This pandemic has prompted societies to stop and reflect on how the landscape of education is changing. A deeper awareness of the value of our teachers has emerged, fuelled by a greater appreciation for the supportive role virtual learning environments can play. Despite the challenges, teachers are doing an amazing job; and when some form of routine resumes, teachers everywhere will be ready to support students transition back into physical schooling (whatever that might look like), as well as helping them to fill in any gaps of knowledge. They will continue to do what they do best – inspire and nurture the next generation.

On behalf of all the students and parents, we applaud our teachers!

Author: Aliya Lavji