As schools resume offline most children may have issues concentrating in the classroom. One of the key challenges for teachers will be to get the child to focus on the task at hand.
With schools returning to an offline mode, there is a lot of discussion among teachers and parents on whether this decision is right or not. Most children have lost almost 3 years of schooling. This will have an impact on their social skills and communication skills. Principals and teachers are talking about how preschool children who have never attended school in the last three years are actually unable to communicate. They were at home, with their parents, who were, thanks to work from home, interacting with their laptops more than the children. The limited screen time that these children could handle also reduced the time they could interact with other children or their teachers. Some of the children actually get anxious when they see too many people around.
Children in primary and middle school have also lost these precious years. When they should have been spending afternoons playing on the school grounds, they were locked indoors with their screens. Even physical activity classes like dance, aerobics or karate were held online. Children of high school have gone through crucial years of development in the confines of the home. The skills that they would have developed in the school environments are not there. They will have to work on not just creating their knowledge base, but also on their skill and attitude base.
Teachers in schools and colleges will face hundreds and thousands of children who will have to be handled with care. Most children may have issues concentrating in the classroom. With online classes, most of them are now in the habit of switching off the cameras, being disconnected from the class or doing something else while the class is going on. One of the key challenges for teachers will be to get the child to focus on the task at hand.
Many children may face issues with stress management. Spending six hours in a classroom, with no parental support is not going to be easy for the children. Even students of grades 4 to 12 will have to be weaned off the ‘home’ schools and prepared for the ‘school’ schools!
The other major challenge for the teachers will be to handle the parents who are now inside the classroom and would want to continue to monitor what the child is doing. There are so many instances where the children are scoring high in the exams held by the schools as parents are attempting the exams. Learning in the past three years has not been honest for many children. Parents have tried to manipulate the submissions. The scores the child received may look good on paper. But they will definitely not work in reality.
Teachers, facilitators and mentors around the world now have a very important task. They will have to wean children off the negative impact of the three years gone by and help fine-tune them into becoming learners in their own right. They will have to teach them to communicate and socialize so that these future citizens will find it easier to step out into the world and interact with each other. To quote Mr Winston Churchill, the price of greatness is responsibility, then we are looking into a future of many great teachers who will take on the responsibility of fine-tuning not just one, but many generations!
And for this, teachers will have to step out of their own comfort zones, walk paths they may have never trodden before, unlearn and relearn classroom interactions, and maybe, more often than not, never use lesson plans!