Teachers are endowed with character traits that are inherent in his person and transform these into desirable assets as an effective teacher. As a person, a teacher is charitable, humble and simple. As a teacher, first and foremost s/he must have the virtue of patience to understand the learners especially their individual differences, their gaps and needs. S/he is dedicated and passionate to teach and share his/her knowledge. A teacher should also be resourceful and creative in finding ways and means on how to make teaching-learning process facilitating especially in this challenging situation.
During this time of pandemic, the teachers are resorting to various strategies to ensure that the students understand and appreciate the subject matter and to ensure that the students are learning. The virtual approach may cause the teacher a variety of discomforts and difficulties in carrying out the lessons. One of these difficulties is the immediate application of remedial measures to some students’ inabilities to cope and update oneself with the teaching- learning process in the digital platform. Another is the inability of the teacher to reliably measure the performance of the students. The contact session under the virtual platform is not that active compared to the face to face or physical platform. However, there are ways to make the process interesting and mitigating the barriers. Always value the student activity/participation in the discussion. Make teaching interactive by raising thought-provoking questions. Allow or give every student a voice to express their ideas or thoughts. Make the teaching approach humanistic even in online teaching. The physical appearance of the teacher is appreciated; the use of appropriate language can boost the morale of the students. There are instances that both the student and the teacher felt depressed and disappointed in view of the following interruptions: the inequalities of students in terms of technology access; parents are not at home, if not knowledgeable, to assist the students in their assignments; guidance and counseling are not availed of by the student in a one to one approach with the teacher; inability of the student to interact with classmates to seek peer to peer advice and discuss certain issue about their studies and other matters; the connectivity between the students and the teachers has been interrupted and significantly affected; it takes some time to know each other and adjust to one’s character traits.
Beset by these situations, the teachers have to adjust themselves to the students’ needs using other platforms. There are tools which can link a closer relationship even under a virtual situation like creating a Facebook page, Instagram, twitter, messenger, and other modes. Issues can be brought out on a one-on-one approach. The teacher should therefore be ready to devote extra time to the students who need help or assistance.
This pandemic, in spite of the downsides of remote, virtual education platforms, has opened the door for more opportunities to widen the horizon of the teachers to readily suit themselves to whatever situation they will face in the future in the pandemic or non-pandemic. Teachers have gained a lot of experience, adaptability, and self confidence in addressing a variety of situations in the classroom, be it physical or virtual.
In fact, expertise and insights of well-known professionals and practitioners can be shared easily unlike physical platform for it takes a lot of preparations and resources. However, it is believed that quality and excellent teachers will stand out even during the crisis.
The writer is VP Academics and Dean, Faculty of Business, American International University Bangladesh