Common Problems Teachers Face While Online Teaching
Are you one of those superhuman, with the gigantic responsibility of online teaching, taking exams, correcting and grading the students, researching new topics and methods to nurture your students right, and doing all this while also trying to manage your personal lives and its commitments, simultaneously? Hats off to you, ma’am!
The job of a teacher was never an easy one, even during pre-COVID times. It requires an enormous amount of effort to be a teacher, mentor, guide, and colleague in your professional life, while also being a daughter, wife, mother, and friend in your personal life. Add to that the management of unleashed and sometimes unruly, ungrateful students, who could be real menaces to handle. It might sound rude, but every one of you has been a part of that student bandwagon.
The first three quarters of 2020 have passed and what you couldn’t even imagine would happen, happened, courtesy of the pandemic. It scares people to even step out of their homes for daily necessities, the thought of sending your kids to school is far from consideration. However, as goes the popular saying, “The show must go on.” and so, the education must go on too.
Education has now become a part of the home for students and teachers, through online tools used for real-time online lessons of all subjects that are part of the school’s curriculum. Though online teaching comes with a vast array of benefits like reduced costs, the flexibility of timings, and the ability to train a larger audience from anywhere on the globe, the system is not without drawbacks and flaws. In India especially, there are some hard challenges the teachers face. Let’s have a look at some common problems faced by teachers in India:
Though India is making excellent progress on the technology and digital front, Indians are still lagging in comparison to our Western contemporaries in adapting to new technologies — especially Gen X, the generation that most teachers belong to. They are still adjusting to the internet, daily used apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. Making a shift to video calling apps like Zoom, Google Meet, Jio Meet, etc. has been a difficult plunge for them.
Add to this the stress of teaching online, preparing tests, worksheets, teaching materials, etc. on computers rather than notebooks, textbooks, and printed modules. Once they can use these tools successfully, they also need to master the ability to manage any troubleshoots they encounter before or during the class.
Bullying by Students, interfering parents
It is safe to say that in most cases, the teachers have independence in their teaching as long as it was face-to-face teaching. Students were also disciplined into being attentive in class and feared being reprimanded for inappropriate behaviour during school. Now with online teaching from the comfort of your homes, students are no longer under the fear or the control of teachers. They are easily distracted, running in and out of screens, falling asleep during class, and the teachers are helpless since they have no physical means to wake the students up or punish them for their unacceptable behaviour during the lessons anymore.
The added disservice to teachers in this scenario is that parents are now part of these lectures too, sometimes because the student cannot use the online tools by themselves, but in other cases just because they can. They interfere, interrupt, and even sometimes shout at the teachers during or after classes. They question the teaching online methodologies of the teachers too. Cases have been reported where female teachers are bullied by older students, simply because the students are fearless, and the teacher can take no action against them.
Students troll their teachers through unofficial or fake names and fake IDs on Zoom calls, send them unpleasant memes to tease them, etc. All the teachers can do in such situations is to ignore their actions and concentrate on the rest of the class. Sometimes, teachers also complain that the relatives of students would use the link to log into the Zoom call, just to check what the teacher looks like.
Lack of decorum in teaching
It is not possible or necessary that every teacher and/ or student has a dedicated working space to themselves for complete privacy during the online teaching and classes. When more than one person is living in the house, there are bound to be noises and disturbances in the background. Teachers have mentioned that many times they can even hear the mothers of the children yelling in the background, giving instructions to the house help, while the fathers roam around in vests and boxers. This causes disturbances to not only the teachers but hampers the concentration of the students as well.
Lack of infrastructure
Problems faced by teachers in India of government schools have a distinct set of problems. While the students who have smartphones, internet, and laptops can access these classes and the corresponding worksheets and tests, using the various tools and apps, most students who do not have these facilities have no classes at all. For these students, the teachers are expected to give them homework every week that they need to complete on a day-to-day basis. Giving the homework is one part of the challenge, while the other part is following up on the same. In some schools, to overcome these issues, a small step taken is to allow students to come to school once a week and clarify all their doubts. That’s probably the only thing that can be done in such a scenario.
Never-ending work and potential health hazards
After wrapping up their online teaching classes, there is additional stress and burden on teachers to research innovative ways they can effectively communicate and explain the important lessons to students. The student’s attention span is already very low and teaching online is a bigger challenge for the teachers to keep their students engaged. Teachers use innovative ways like physical demonstrations and researching videos online to explain concepts better. All the hard work and efforts put in leads to increased fatigue and soreness in the throat from all the talking — taking a toll on the overall well-being and spirit of the teachers. Teachers who are parents too
This would be the cherry on top if one were to bake a cake to depict the difficulties faced by the teacher in online teaching. While the struggle for teachers is very real, what’s even worse is when they have to help their own kids at home with their online classes.
Probably only second to parenting, teaching can be considered as being one of the most challenging jobs in the world. Though it can be such a stressful and exhaustive experience, teachers still show up every day with the same spirit and zeal to teach, day after day. The restrictions caused in our lives because of COVID-19 do not seem to get uplifted any time soon. Till then, we continue to adapt and make the most of what we have.