The reopening of the educational institution almost one and half years after the lockdown is certainly a piece of good news for the students, teachers and parents. Students attending class and playing with friends, and teachers teaching them - it is like a tidal wave of joy. We all wanted educational institutions to be opened. But after this long time, due to the resumption of class-based learning activities, teachers may face some problems which need to be solved with utmost awareness.
As students stayed out of the classroom and continued their study at home through online platforms for about a year and a half, changes in their behaviour, emotions, expressions, curiosity, concentration on reading etc. should be observed. So a teacher has to play a more tactical role in these matters. I think the following discussion is very important in this regard.
As a teacher, some of the problems in front of him may seem irresistible, which all the teachers in the country, including other teachers in his/her institution, may face seriously. Teachers may be concerned about what they are teaching and what students are learning, where their attention is going or whether they understand you. In this regard, a teacher needs to share with his/her organisation's officials and other colleagues to deal with them tactfully.
During Corona time students may have suffered many kinds of harm, as a result of which a teacher may see different kinds of sensitive reactions and may also have exceptional emotional reactions among them. Alongside students' anxiety, tendency to refuse, anger, guilt, depression, etc., teachers can also feel different physical reactions in them.
Psychotherapist Jane Carron highlights some of the symptoms of students' emotional reactions that a teacher can help them to be easy in the classroom if they know:
1. A significant change in the attitudes of the students which may last for a few days. Its symptoms may be lack of energy, withdrawal from social interactions with friends, inattention to lessons, monotony, bored feelings etc.
2. Significant changes in the weight of students may be found, whichever is weight gain or even loss - can occur because pandemic often puts them at risk for mental health risks.
4. There may be a tendency for students to get a little angry while teaching which can disrupt the teaching process.
5. Behaving in a way that hides the teacher's eyes in a way that can damage the teacher's teaching method. For example, unnecessary body itching, making marks of injury on one's own body, etc.
In short, students may not feel able to learn at the same pace as before and may show embarrassing behavior. Not being able to concentrate on the lessons while teaching in the classroom is a big challenge.
Students may also suffer from homesickness when they come to class. Being separated from their parents, grandparents or neighbouring friends for a while due to long stay at home can cause a kind of separation pain in their mind. As a result, teachers may feel a crisis in their teaching which hinders the proper outcome of education.
There may be many students whose relatives may have died of COVID-19, which can cause some kind of trauma in them. Immersing these students in class-based reading can be a challenge for the teacher. In this case, it is necessary for teachers and school authorities to create a special environment to take care of the students mentally. Trauma affected individuals' care aims to create an environment in the schools and organizations that minimizes mental depression and traumatic problems and ensures the healing of traumatic students.
Whatever the problems and crises after the opening of the educational institution, the teachers have to adopt some ways so that the students can concentrate on their studies being mentally healthy. Here are some ideas and awareness tips to help teachers solve the problems:
1. We need to explain to the students clearly how all our lives have been spent or who has had problems during the Corona period. Corona is just a viral disease that needs to be dealt with from a health conscious point of view. There is a risk in life - they need to be made clear.
2. Students may have a lot of curiosity and questions about the virus, what the current corona update is, how it might react in the future, and how it will affect their learning. Teachers should discuss this openly with them. Allowing students to explore these thoughts and questions in a helpful place while balancing academic lessons with creative and vocational subjects can be another teacher’s teaching strategy.
3. Because students have been at home for a long time, some things may happen in their family that the teacher may not know about. Maybe children and young people in the classroom will start talking about whether it is pathetic or sympathetic, as teachers they should be given the opportunity to share this experience. The more opportunities they have to talk about such things, the more they will be able to focus on their studies.
4. Teachers need to be more caring to the students and frank to them when they return to the classroom. Due to the opening of the educational institution after a long time, the students may be hesitant or inactive among the students to interact with each other or talk to the teachers. Teachers can create a free-frank environment, the students can quickly adapt to everyone in the classroom and develop an interest in reading. This is why teachers can sometimes make a separate schedule for talking to students independently.
5. Teachers can participate in open discussions with students by leaving open question and answer sessions in the classroom. Team-based quiz competitions can also be organized on how spent time at home with Corona and what they have experienced. Then the students will make themselves interested in learning.
6. Students need to be aware of all the challenges and harms they have faced due to the pandemic and have a positive outlook on the future of life. Teachers should inspire the students to always be positive and build self-confidence without expressing any frustration about the future.
7. Students need to be involved in more and more creative work in post-COVID-19 classroom activities. They have become tired and exhausted due to remaining at home school for a long time. In order to get rid of this monotony, teachers have to practice some activities in the classroom which can develop their talents and enhance a creative mindset. In addition to teaching, students can be given peace of mind by taking them out of the classroom to get close to nature, making placard-posters, giving them music, visual art or drawing work etc.
In short, the biggest challenge for teachers is to keep the students focused on their studies in the classroom after the opening of the educational institution. Being away from the atmosphere of schools, colleges, Madrasas and universities for almost a year and a half can lead to various emotional reactions among the students. Therefore, after returning to the classroom based teaching and learning, teachers need to conduct various co-curricular activities for their mental development before imparting book-based knowledge. If teachers can create opportunities for the students to practice their talents, work with innovative ideas and attract them towards creativity and brainstorming functions besides reading, it will be possible for the teachers to solve all the problems of the students in terms of classroom based education quickly after reopening the educational institutions.
The writer is an Education Researcher and
Principal, Daffodil International School, Dhaka