Confessions of a teacher in lockdown.
Today, a year of lockdown is being completed. Nationally and globally, the world has been into turmoil because of the pandemic caused by Covid-19. Overnight, the entire educational system had to be redesigned and conducted online.
Under ever-stricter measures being implemented daily, social distancing, isolation, fear of getting infected and covid-19 terrorism prevalent in the news, maintaining a positive attitude has definitely been the biggest bet.
As a teacher with a willingly open mind to all sorts of learning, this year, it has all come down to these benchmarks.
- Creativity is medicine.
More often than not, Internet access will be disrupted during remote teaching. Electricity will suddenly go out. Some students who share a computer with a sibling will have to rearrange their lesson at the last minute because lessons coincide. Sometimes speakers fail to work for no apparent reason, while some others, cameras don’t collaborate with our attempts to achieve online distance learning.
This is where individual creativity is checked and challenged. After the first few times that I was left stranded and bewildered on how to continue my lesson when the afore-mentioned problems took place, I began developing a greater network concerning my lessons. I began uploading extra grammar and vocabulary revision material, games, model essays, interesting articles, classified by level on a cloud, to which all my students could have access. Also, I created and exchanged with students accounts on all social media and messaging applications anyone could think of. In case one platform failed, we could instantly transfer our lesson to another. Last but not least, printable material was always in reach of students who had just finished their books and because of delivery delays, they had to wait on for quite some time to receive their new ones. All this, eliminated the frustration caused by technical issues, at least.
2. Students are a source of joy.
Probably the most significant lesson learned during this harsh period is the acknowledgement that our students are the key to happiness. No matter how gloomy a morning rose, knowing that in a few minutes, even through a screen I will see the gleaming eyes and bright smile of my students, gave me all the strength I needed.
Listening to their news, dreams, anxiety, hopes, questions and laughter paved the way for me to realise how great an impact, positive or negative our lesson could have on their lockdown reality. Feeling responsible to encourage, inspire, listen and deeply understand them gave my teaching a far deeper perspective and value than I had ever imagined.
3. Stretchy To-Do List.
Anyone else who is a sucker for to-do lists? Yeap, that used to be me. I would have my whole upcoming week planned out, in full detail to its execution and I felt overjoyed every single time I was crossing out a task that had just been completed. And then, the lockdown was implemented. The to-do list was right there, beautifully written, awaiting to be fulfilled. However, hard though I may have tried, more tasks seemed to be added on the list while none was being settled. Also, I felt that during that the specific time limit I had set, only offered me extra stress.
So, I kept my lists but erased the deadlines off them. Yes, the tasks on the list helped me feel target-oriented but the absence of specific dates saved me from the deep disappointment of potential, consecutive delays or cancellations that had more to do with the general situation that with me.
4. Doing what you love will save your (mental) life.
During this dreadful period, I could never imagine how much strength a person should have in order to lead a professional life they are not genuinely keen on. Against all adversities and obstacles, the motivation stemming from the unquenchable desire to offer your help or service to those who need it, is a power in itself. I couldn’t have imagined how this period would be if I were to be degraded by a frustrating boss, collaborating with unfriendly coworkers and most importantly investing time on a purpose that I do not believe in.
Thankfully, once again I felt grateful that I had been given the opportunity and luck to discover my professional inclination in life and, overcoming all obstacles, I do a job I simply adore.
Covid-19 and the what-seems-to-be perpetual lockdown that followed, certainly pointed out one thing. The fragility of human life, and therefore the value of time. I guess, it is time for all of us to deeply ponder on our professional path and choose wisely how we can be of value to our community and others. Feeling that we are practically making a difference in the world around us, does make a great change on our mentality and mood.