From Managing To Refining And Accelerating: Supporting Teachers In The Pandemic And Beyond

This pandemic has brought into sharp focus how important teachers are, and how they can succeed, even during a crisis with the right technology and support system.

The pandemic has brought with it a whole lot of challenges, opportunities and revolutions.  The frontline pandemic warriors who stood the test of time not only include doctors, health workers, policemen, but also teachers across the country. One mid-March afternoon in 2020, brought a total transformation in the professional lives of teachers. With instructions to work from home from the very next day, all thanks to an elusive virus, the teachers were mystified and worried. Their apprehension transformed into invention very soon as they adapted to the waves of changes that bashed on them quickly. This pandemic has brought into sharp focus how important teachers are and how they can succeed, even during a crisis with the right technology and support system.  

Challenges for teachers   

While the pandemic has changed everything else for students inadvertently, teachers have ensured minimal changes for their students.   As they are engaged in this process, they face three serious bottlenecks:  

  • Stress due to economic uncertainty, concern for the safety of their family and anxiety about the future 

  • The overwhelming challenge of handling students who may have lost skill and content due to circumstances beyond their control and will be resuming later 

  • Not being much proficient and skillful in using the right technology 

Supporting teachers during the pandemic and beyond

In order that teachers refine their teaching methodology to suit the need of the hour and accelerate the process of teaching-learning and maintain their effectiveness, they need to be supported in the following areas: 

  • Supporting teacher resilience: The jobs and salaries of teachers must be protected so that the teaching force is sufficiently motivated and ready to keep up the pace of teaching in the virtual school now and in physical schooling in due course. It is important that teachers are constantly motivated and are minimally burnt out. Teachers should be given sufficient counselling to combat the stress they may be undergoing due to the rigorous demands of this unprecedented situation. 

  • Supporting teachers instructionally: Teachers must be sufficiently trained to identify the skills and content lost by some of their students, detect signs of dropping out and undertake effective remedial sessions. Teaching in the virtual scenario is new for 99% of the teaching workforce, they need to be trained not just on adoption of technology tools, but also on how to adapt to the change in instructional design brought about by curriculum teams – lesson plans, structures and outcomes may have been considerably modified by curriculum teams, to suit virtual learning. It is imperative to train teachers to master their ability to deliver high-quality instruction to their students at all levels. 

  • Supporting teachers technologically: Schools which support their teachers technologically are able to weather the pandemic situation more successfully than their counterparts. Teachers should be provided with the requisite technology tools and sufficiently trained to use them efficiently. Providing SIM cards, tabs, laptops, digital learning platforms and training them to use these effectively will ensure integration of technology into the teaching-leaning process irrespective of virtual or physical schooling.  

Strong School leadership will be the key to identify the needs of teachers and support them sufficiently. If we need to build back better and bounce back stronger, it is critical for school leaderships to plan and invest sufficiently on the teaching taskforce – after all, our teachers are the true warriors enabling uninterrupted learning! It is important to bring different stakeholders and teams from IT top management, training & curriculum together, to help teachers deliver on their commitment to ensure education to students irrespective of the circumstances. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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