• Gagan Dhir

Teachers during Unprecedented Pandemic- Deserve a huge SHOUT OUT!!!!!

Hi friends! You all must be pondering why did I take a break from writing for the past few months. Did I retire from my passion of writing or I got lost in the wilderness of Arizona? Although it was not a long break, it did feel like eternity to me. Well, I will be honest with you and share my heart out today. Being an avid educator, I had been so engrossed with teaching both in-person and online. My days had been crazy, and my nights had been a nightmare. I started longing for hours of sleep during the weekends when I could just lazily sit on my couch in my PJ’s and just do NOTHING. My all-creative aspirations took a back seat as school was wiping me out. But this weekend was kind of different and I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to write- felt inclined to put my thoughts on paper and continue my fervor for Writing. So, here I was thinking about what my fellow educators and teachers across the world have been going through during this unrivaled time.

Schools were closed globally since March 2020 and an astonishing 1.5 billion people were shut down in their homes to save them from the unprecedented virus called as Covid-19. The biggest impact of this nerve wrecking COVID-19 was on our dear students across the world who were enforced with a virtual learning environment where all the teachers were given a responsibility to teach them virtually. Not to miss, both teachers and students experienced different kinds of technical difficulties, socio-economic issues, frustrations for not coping up with this change and many more. But, did this all end for teachers and students? The answer is certainly “NO”. Teachers are leaving no room across the globe to support the academic and social needs of their students both in person and virtually.

With so much still going on, has anyone realized what all the educators are going through during this time? Can the stress faced by teachers now a days be measured? Can anyone even imagine how strenuous it has become for teachers to cope up with this harsh reality of teaching students both in person and online. Many school districts took up the decision of opening their schools in person couple of months ago. Teachers had to teach both in person and online at the same time. Did this reduce the burden on the shoulders of our dear educators? Certainly not, rather they have now a double responsibility to cater to the needs of their students present in the vicinity of four walls and a class of students seen virtually on the 8 by 12inch computer screen.

“It seems to be chaotic!!!”, many teachers feel the same but intimidated to speak up. Fear of losing their job is not easy for any teacher during this time. Although many passionate teachers did resign their job as an educator feeling petrified to be affected with COVID-19. In a nationwide poll of educators, NEA found that 28 percent said the COVID-19 pandemic has made them more likely to retire early or leave the profession, a rate that could far worsen the U.S.’s shortage of qualified teachers. On the other hand, for many teachers it was hard to leave their job as it is their bread and butter. They had no choice other than coping up with this unprecedented situation no matter they had to risk their own life facing so many bodies in person in their class.

In fact, my prestigious Peoria Unified School District took up the decision to open all the schools in person and get back in routine keeping in the mind the desperate need of all the students to be back in classrooms . But am I teaching all my students in class in person only? The answer is no. I have two classes with- in person students and one class online. Morning routine has mutated so much for me. As soon as I enter the class with my coffee in my hand, my responsibility is to wear gloves, spray the disinfectant on every desk, and wipe them off. I must ensure that my students have a clean and safe environment. But that is not the only protocol I have to follow. I need to be consistent with the procedures of maintaining social distancing in my class- room, each student is wearing a mask which is mandatory, students are washing their hands frequently or using hand sanitizers and last but not the least, cleaning and disinfecting according to the CDC guidelines during the switching of classes. Not only maintaining a safe environment is our job but we must take care of the social and emotional needs of all our students. My students miss doing different station activities in the class and are forced to confine themselves within their seat. Meeting group of students virtually is exciting but having those interactive lesson plans is missing though a screen with remote students. All this was viable and doable because of the persistent and unabated support given to us by our district and amazing administrators at our campus.

Guys, teachers are beyond exhausted and their frustrating level is at the peak. To minimize educational disruption, countries around the world have swiftly shifted to online and remote learning to ensure sustainable, high quality and flexible teaching and learning. At the center of many of these learning strategies is the use of technology. Unfortunately, for most of the educators who are still teaching online from the vicinity of their home or classroom, the biggest challenge is of students not showing up in virtual class. They had to invite them again and again so that they do not miss their learning opportunity. Assigning lessons online had been a big struggle for many teachers who have always taught old- school style. But to our amazement, did these teachers lose hope or did they fail? The COVID-19 Pandemic and the push to Online learning has certainly challenged teachers to incorporate technology to the best of their ability. Teachers are working more than 12 hours and having sleepless nights although depleted of energy after a full day in -person and online instruction.

So, I would just like to urge my fellow readers, friends, and family, to acknowledge the relentless efforts of our dear educators. Amidst the pain, struggle and this weird time teachers are enduring a bright spot. Educators surely deserve the appreciation deeper than ever. With the support from their administrators, colleagues, parents and communities, teachers are carrying on with their respective endeavors to the best of their abilities and caliber. Someone has rightly said “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, It is about learning how to dance in the rain.” And teachers across the globe are surviving and fulfilling the socio-emotional needs of their teachers putting their own families at stake.

So, my humble request to all my near and dear ones- Respect them, adore them, and support them!!!!!!!!!!

Written By-

Mrs. Gagan Dhir

Educator





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