Class 6-8

Because of the pandemic, we have now shifted to online classes. Online classes are not exactly better or worse than normal school: they are different. They are beneficial in some ways and harmful in others.
 
We are undergoing a crisis in the present times. The pandemic has totally upended the lives of people – the lockdown and its restrictions, social distancing and the closing of schools! The question that arose for us, teachers was: how we can connect with our students from afar, that too in a situation of uncertainty, mistrust and fear generated due to this mysterious virus? Learning had to continue and at first thought, the engagement over a distance mode came out to us as an instant possibility.
Our teacher development process had been more face-to-face, but COVID-19 forced us to explore other possibilities; to explore alternative methods to reach our teachers. In the early stages, we had educative conversations through teleconferencing, but this method had its limitations. There was an urgent need to find a platform to have effective communication with teachers. Finally, after much thought, Mallikarjuna Sajjan, our Cluster Resource Person (CRP) came up with an idea.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences, beyond the spread of the disease itself, on the social, economic and political life of the people. The severity of the pandemic, which has resulted in the closing of educational institutions, has been an unprecedented test for education. Academic activities in India were rapidly halted by the end of March by institutions and states even before the countrywide lockdown was announced.
Prarthana Mudgal is a class VII student of a private English-medium school in Bhopal. She was just managing to cope with the passing away of her paternal grandmother, who she was very attached to, when schools closed in March. In the heat of north India’s summer, it was initially a great reprieve to remain indoors and unexpected school holidays are always welcome. But as children are wont to, Prarthana soon started to look for things to do. And what she ended up doing is truly remarkable,
The teaching-learning process is a continuum of experiences with the teacher in class and homework and learning at home. Pauses in an academic year are usually structured and, more often than not, they are partial. These periods offer unique opportunities – many a time in a fun way – to reinforce what was taught in class, making sure that children can seamlessly continue with the academic sessions when our school resumes. However, the pandemic brought upon us a pause which was both unplanned and with no end in sight!
‘Hello ji’, I said, picking up the mobile phone. A child’s voice on the other end responded, ‘Hello teacher.’ I quickly disconnected the call so I could call him back instead. The child answered the phone and told me his name. He led the conversation and asked me, ‘What did you eat today?’, ‘What has been prepared at your house today?’ (These are common small talk phrases people use in Chhattisgarh to move a conversation forward). 
 
Albert Einstein once said, ‘In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity’. Although the teachinglearning process is one of the challenges COVID-19 brought with it, everyone is trying their best in this situation to find alternatives to overcome the difficulties caused by the pandemic. Schools closed soon after the effects and the impact of COVID-19 became clear and for a while, teaching and learning stopped completely.
Ankita Thakur is a class XII student in a private English-medium school in the Pussore Tehsil of Raigarh district in Chhattisgarh. She is a secondgeneration school-goer. Her mother, whose parents were daily wage labourers, went on to complete her B Ed in Special Education and is now a Block Resource Person for Special Education. Her father is a graduate and works as a daily wager in a private company.
 
When we started hearing in the news channels about an infection that was traced back to a few persons in some developed metros in India and that too only those who had returned from other countries, it was not a serious matter for us living in a remote part of North-East Karnataka. But when the first lockdown was announced across the country due to which we had to close schools about a month earlier than our regular schedule, we started getting concerned.

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