… as a teacher.
A few days ago, I was just strolling nearby home: I like to take a walk , to feel the changed atmosphere of the city in this dreadful shocking pandemic.
I like to exchange two words or more with people in the street met by chance: the owner of a souvenir shop saddened in front of his shop empty of tourists; the young rickshaw driver waiting; the elderly trying to feed a ravenous dog…..I like raising my eyes imagining life inside the houses; I like the smells, the colors, the music from the windows.. the pigeons …in a state of mind between nostalgia, tranquility , thoughtful…
I was savoring all this… when suddenly, from behind me, I hear a woman’s voice calling me: ‘Ashok! It’s you? I recognized your walk! How are you ?’ I turned my head and I saw a longtime friend of mine. ‘Oh!’ I said, ‘How long we did not see each other !! I’m happy to meet you !’
She was (is) a teacher and friend when I was teaching too, before the virus attacks.
And when two teachers meet, you know what they talk about ?….. School, teaching, old and new systems…..( as well as some gossips ….!! Ah ah!!)
And so we did, with pleasure, exchanging our ideas , our opinions, our concerns and hopes, agreeing on many aspects, obviously in this strange context ‘without’ school.
Our first observation, with sadness and regret, was to note that children and adolescents are suffering greatly from the lack of presence in the classroom. It is a question of the lack of teachers and the lack of classmates. Students are confused now and it is not known what the psychological consequences of not going to school will be..
We both agreed that teaching is not just transmit knowledge, it is proposing behaviors, communicating enthusiasm and curiosity, teaching and sharing the love for culture and study. As teacher, you need to have your students directly in front, you need to ask between the school desks, stopping to one to the other.. for a smile, for a glance. Gestures are very important: they communicate almost as much as words. They are a way to keep students’ attention awake.
Education is not just getting a degree…
And how do you can stream this through an IPad or a computer screen? Without thinking of all who don’t have a computer or a good connection… who have no place in home..
On-line teaching is ,yes, better than nothing – we said each other – but it dugs ditches among more or less privileged students.
Anyway, many of them are unmotivated now, after almost one year away from the desks. In particular those who do not have an adequate family context, abandoned.
We both remembered how were important at school , at every level, the times out of the classrooms:in the corridors, in dead times, waiting the bus, in the courtyard; small groups, little confidences, some quarrels, secret gossips, .all this has disappeared , it melted into the screens.
Our young people are losing a lot due to this damn virus. They are losing the habit and the discipline of the timetable. Many are well at home and would not like to go back to school: a bit they are afraid, a bit they became lazy and anyway they feel more secure in home. And we must say that many of them are very skilled with ‘on line’ techniques. They succeed then to learn, to follow lessons, to interact. The richness of social relations is lacking but maybe they are ‘replacing’ them with other forms of communication.
So, talking together and exchanging our views, we arrived at the pessimistic assessment that we should not compare too much with the past.
So we became aware that if our children have not be able to benefit from face-to-face teaching during this year, if they have lost a lot of hours and significant knowledge and the possibility of relationships, this does not mean at all that they are faced with the irreparable. Complaint has never made anyone grow, on the contrary, it tends to only promote an arrest of development in childishly recriminatory position. To counter the risk of ‘victimization’ is the ethical and educational gesture of those teachers who spend themselves jumping through hoops to make remote teaching exist.
Teaching in front of a screen means also not retreating in face of the need to find a new adaptation imposed by the adversity of reality, witnessing that training takes place always ‘against the wind, with what it is there and not with what should be and is not there.’
IT IS A LESSON IN THE LESSON, that we and our students should make their own.
Adults have also the duty not to leave to the children and to adolescents the cloudy benefit of the victim: that of complaining , perhaps for a lifetime, for the occasions that have been unjustly stolen from them.
Come on guys ! You are always on time even if your are late ! It is after all , in life, always like this for everyone: we are always late.
We wanted to greet each other with these words of trust and optimism, thinking of our respective children of ‘Covid generation’ – or no – that were waiting for us at home.
Bye dear friend ! I was happy to meet you. Looking forward for another talking meeting !