The world we live in moves on change, Innovation & Wisdom. Change in order to shed what is obsolete, innovation to bring better comfort & Wisdom to hold your rights & identify the wrongs; to work on & improve. However, our parents & teachers have been a stick to take support of, to learn and grow, till we can stand on our two feet all by ourselves and treasure the support for life!
The roles of a teacher & a parent are the only selective which can be interchanged and still, there may not be much of a change. Teacher’s hold your hand at every point of your lives whether you may not see it every time. However, today’s pandemic hasn’t spared the lifelong supporters too. Education Industry has been hit today as the other industries have. But the reactions are not always bad as, if the pandemic has destructed; it has also brought in some transformations which can go on for a real long time with respect to the security & ease of tomorrow.
To show the real picture of what is going on today, we connected with quite a few number of teachers from different regions of India including Gujarat, Delhi, Karnataka and Kashmir. They helped us visualize what the reality is on the ground level.
The sole purpose of conducting this survey is to highlight to the world, the other side of the Education Industry, Our teachers. While there is a lot of literature, information and videos on how a student’s life has changed in the pandemic, very few are focusing on how the times have changed for faculties too. And to be fair to what we bring to the readers, it is important to cover the story on a broader perspective and not just the Home town.
We created a questionnaire wherein few questions correlated with each other to validate what is a serious problem and the positive side of this New Normal for teachers. There was no limit to what the teacher is teaching & what grades do they see for. We have included teachers from all grades wherein, the maximum of them taught from Grade 10 to Grade 12.
Talking about what changes they are witnessing currently due to this online shift, 60% of the total responders equate change with challenge as the situation today is something out of the blue; a little different than what we always feel might be.
Impact of Online shift
Challenges and Changes
Out of the total teachers interviewed, approximately 5% of the responders say that the Students with special needs have started performing better and are more enthusiastic for online classes than those different from them. While being the most eager for this transition, teachers on the other hand are concerned towards their needs & overall Socio- Economic concerns that have started to rise due to the non- physical interaction & activities.
Moving on with the challenges our Teaching community is facing, we asked another question that was derived from the challenges they identified. We asked how they are managing their professional and personal life at once considering there is very little time available from the day and most of the time is consumed in online lectures and Video preparations. To which, 43% of the respondents say it is difficult to balance out both considering, there is no help from others, own kids are small and the cultural belief of India which always sees women as Home- Makers despite what they do.
From the remaining ones, 52% people believe it is a game of time management & Self- Motivation. And if the family supports, it is easy to move even the toughest of mountains. The rest 5% don’t have much responsibility over their heads which is a very surprising yet a decent movement of joy considering those falling under the last number are females.
Each and every activity/change that happens in the world has some impact on the human brain. Whether it is positive or negative, it is bound to leave its trace no matter how long or short. Considering the mindset teachers are having currently, they are stressed and facing chaos in managing everything together. They are worried about the quality of education imparted today as physical classes give maximum control over what students are doing while online classes just have their contribution in attendance marking. However, being a positive section of our working class, they are hopeful that things can shape better & situation will improvise.
Students today are attending online classes to keep up with their studies. However, how much is the attendance today is a matter of question along with their attentiveness.
As per the pie, a large portion of responders (38%) claim the attendance is the same as it was in the physical classes while 33% of the total claim it has reduced. It depends on grades though, the ones where the same is reduced belongs to the higher grade students (Grade 10 to Grade 12) & pre- recorded videos are sent across for Primary & Pre- Primary section of students.
Interestingly, there is a thing common for all the attendees of the Digital classes of higher grades; only those serious about the studies and those who ranked are attentive in the online platforms too. Technology has proved itself as a boon to keep the education going but with misuse of the features like Mute, Turn- off Cameras, etc have established a lack of control and confusion among the teachers’ minds whether the student is truly attentive or not.
Due to access to additional tuition classes, YouTube and other online tutorials, students give less attention to the school education. Higher the grade, lesser the obedience and attention. Digital classes might not be a challenge for everybody today, but it certainly will be for the younger ones as they have had a limited time to socialize and are moved forcefully to study without having teachers and their buddies by their side.
How are Parents reacting?
Talking about the reaction of Parents to the online classes, they do manage with the online classes and almost 40% of them support the same as they are particular about their child’s studies. However, parents of the students of the Age group 3 to 11 years are concerned about their overall health which is being compromised due to sitting before a computer for a considerably long period of time following which, 10% of the total parent groups discussed are ready to compromise this year of academics for the sake of health.
While on the other hand, there is little to no interference from the parents of students from Grade 9th to Grade 12th. Furthermore, the parents of students in the middle grade have the most interference. They might not do it on purpose but their presence along with the kids in their online classes have made teachers uncomfortable and conscious. Due to constant monitoring, judgment and questions from the parents, this has brought in Self- Consciousness in the system of teachers.
School Operating System- How has it changed?
Operating system of schools hasn’t seen much of a change lately except,
1. Offline activities have shifted Online: From teaching to material preparation & floating, everything is done in front of a screen.
2. Syllabus & Examination totals have been reduced to ease the students’ burden.
3. Improved Sanitization and hygiene
4. Physical communication has reduced
5. Schools are facing fees issues as parents are hesitant to pay fees as they don’t visualize school’s operating costs which include salaries of teachers as well.
Education System- The hard hit one
According to our responders, this online shift can be adverse for the psyche, skills and social ability of students. As they are not able to have physical interaction with their teachers and friends, it will be difficult to once again be comfortable with physical communications once the situation eases.
Also, due to lack of personal time due to video sessions, studies and extra classes, skill enhancement of efforts too can’t be made neither by teachers, nor by students themselves.
However, the positive take away from this shift is: Learning at a wider scope. Today, the whole world is at our door step via a few clicks. Scope of studies and education has broadened, considering the students really take advantage of it.
When asked, which model of teaching should exist considering
there are three options, the answers were:
Collaboration & Aspirations- How have they molded?
Considering the lack of physical interactions, internal collaborations are happening online among the teachers. Also, since Unlock 5 permits the opening of School premises, Teachers are called to school every alternate days and take online classes from there itself, to bring the physical communication up.
However, this is not applicable to Kashmir. Since a yearlong lockdown for the place considering the lockdowns there were imposed much before the COVID outburst, collaboration has taken a serious hit. No physical communication and technological undermines at the place have compelled students to stay without attending the classes & talking to their teachers which applies to teacher interactions with the fellow colleagues as well.
Moving on, considering the wider reach to the audience today, there can be a change in the aspirations of the teachers. This shift of digital classes can also bring a spike in the freelancing opportunities and approach.
When asked about the Government’s role in easing the situation of Teachers and the Educational fraternity as a whole, we got the following positive answers.
Here too, 50% of our responders feel Government has not played any part in easing the situation of the private schools. While the Government school staff is getting their salaries without any hindrance, due to reduction in the school fees of private school students and parents making a fuss about the fees payment, the private teachers are worried about their salaries.
According to the teachers that connected to us for this research, Government should
The Positive Takeaways
As each coin has its two sides, this Pandemic also benefit the education fraternity in some or the other way. When asked about the same, here is what they said.
By simply looking at a well, you can’t measure its depth. And this has been a case with the Education Industry and the teachers facilitating the learning process. Being on the internet and watching news and memes which cover a mere headline of what is going on, can’t actually justify the reality of the time.
In our opinion, not only have the teachers went over the top with technology to keep the flow of education towards the learners smooth, but also have sacrificed a considerably large amount of their personal time to make sure no day goes without imparting knowledge. While teachers are handholding themselves with new methods of online teaching, and technology; they are equally eager to unfold new era of evolution in education. The world where we live in today respects those working in White Coats, Shiny Blazers and Blue Jackets; we might as well give plenty of it to those making us capable of wearing one.
Shivangi Makhija, A PGDM in Finance by education & a Business Analyst at J. Hirani has worked for Power Backup & Forex industries so far. She is a spontaneous & a wanderer at heart, yet focused & patient which makes her versatile in her own ways!
Keyuri Patel, an engineer who has mastered refining cultures and leadership, is associated with Jagdish Hirani & Associates as a Project Manager. She is consistently improving the conversion of strategies from design boards to ground team. She has a wide experience consulting organizations in the fields of BFSI, Education, Textile, Outdoor Media, Technology, Garments, Architectural Hardware, Travel and Event Management. Apart from contributing to the consulting projects she is also leading people initiatives at J.Hirani.
Success Mantra “Don’t say “yes” if you are not convinced”. Understand that ultimately it’s your team (not machines, technology, money or product) who drives your organization.
About J.Hirani: J.Hirani is a Strategic Transformation team which works as a growth partner for different organizations in various industries by providing services like Agile transformation, Scenario mapping, Strategic alignment, Balance scorecard, Digital transformation, Incubating new ventures, Operation excellence and Aligning human capital.
©J.Hirani, COVID Effect on a Teacher’s Life, November 2020. All rights reserved.