Saturday, September 5, 2020

Online Classes and the End of the World


Hi there. I am here to tell you that life on earth as we know it has changed. 

Change is transformation. But every time something transforms, it is either for the best or the worst. There would be those with the middle ground too- people affected with not much harm or not much comfort

One of the changes in the COVID-19 infected world is that we went online for everything. Teaching, being my day job, occupies the majority of my concerns when I am online. Unfortunately, that meant only one thing- my writing life suffered. I didn’t get enough time to spend on my passion or hobbies and also heard my colleagues complain about not having enough time to spend with their family. 

Because I spent more time online, just like my colleagues, I stumbled upon a video interview by Dr Sashi Tharoor. In that video, he narrated a funny incident from a meeting that he attended in some school. One of the students asked him which new word would he want them to learn that day. To that question, Dr Tharoor answered that the word he wanted them to study that day was “read”, so that they can read new books and learn new words by themselves, without having anyone to teach them new vocabulary. Perhaps online teaching necessitated all of us teachers to relocate ourselves to the digital space. This need not force us to defenestrate reading, the good old alchemy-formula for having a stimulating intellectual life. 

Reading can take a number of different forms since books are now accessible in different formats and readers are willing to try those different formats. It’s a time to pause and think for both students and teachers alike. 

Another piece of thought that is not as complacent as reading books is finding online teaching jobs. Some of us teachers are presently employed at physical institutions like colleges and schools. We are in the online English teaching job because of a certain change in the situation. Mind you, here comes the word- change. The transformation from an assistant professor in the college campus to a teacher of online classes is difficult to digest for some of us and we expect to see the situation change back to what we usually thought to be “normal”. This means that an online teaching job from home is not what we signed up for. 

Being forced to do something is always painful, more than expected. There are two forms of online teaching- synchronous and asynchronous online teaching. Synchronous online teaching means those live classes we attend to. Asynchronous online teaching means the recorded classes that we receive from teachers, which are previously recorded in audio or video format. 

When the educational system transformed into an invisible collapse that only a few sensed, parents came into our radar for showing the responsibility for their offsprings’ well being. How many of the parents are getting involved in their children’s online classes?  

Parental involvement has become more important in education than at any other time. In the system before the COVID-19, it was information that was traded in classrooms. Now it’s data. The information has taken the form of data that reaches students. It becomes the responsibility of the student to use the data they receive from the online teachers to put to the best use possible. They can use that data to improve their skills, to personal development, and a plethora of other purposes. However, in some cases, they cannot do it on their own. Distractions are abundant in the farrago of the online learning context. In the ensuing confusion, parental care will be crucial in guiding the student safely through the many layers of data during the online classes, the end of the world as we know it. 

Visit my Instagram page for more: @authoranulal

No comments: