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Against the odds

Shivangi Gupta

Research and Design Intern

For someone who had little to no experience with the digital platform, it was understandable why Nishu Ma’am was as apprehensive and uncertain as she was. Of course, the entire premise of the pandemic was uncertain, but education required a classroom which could hardly be replaced by a screen. How would she manage to make the classes engaging for the handful of students who did turn up, or could? How would she manage to strike a balance? The questions clouded her mind but they could not cloud her zeal and determination, so she faced the challenges head on.

Her school had recently partnered with Simple Education Foundation to help improve the quality of public education provided to her students and keeping a similar spirit in mind, she meticulously worked towards mapping out a way to navigate the new normal, too. She planned her days ahead of schedule, managing administrative responsibilities and even home life. The days were difficult as the stress would overwhelm her and very often, she would see her students struggling due to a lack of resources.

She felt like most students weren’t able to make judicious use of the online mode, which is why she took a firm decision to bring about a change in perspective. Individual support and guidance was given to each student and important stakeholders like parents and guardians were involved to ensure the holistic development of students even while they learned remotely.

Distance truly does mean so little when one has motive.

A positive change was seen in most of her students. Attendance improved and while online classes still weren’t much of a replacement for the warm environment traditional classrooms gave, Nishu Ma’am was just content with the fact that learning did not have to stop, and her students could still face challenges head on.

An example of this would be Yashika, who while in traditional classes would be very shy, found it easier to open up in the online mode. Her potentials peaked as she interacted more, and she is but one example of the many students who found their niche behind the screen, realising how important and liberating education is, whatever mode it might come in.

Nishu Ma’am, like many other teachers, has done commendable work in ensuring learning does not stop in the pandemic and while this rigorous task deserves our deepest appreciation, we mustn’t glorify the struggles of our educators in this trying time. Many teachers still deal with apprehension and a lack of support during this worldwide epidemic has not done any good to them.

We thus hope that schools will see a systemic opening, once again, so that our educators don’t have to single handedly manage things beyond the realm of their control. While we appreciate and respect them, we understand how big of a toll it takes on them and it is our duty to assist them the way they have assisted us.

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