Teaching, and being an educator…. What a beautiful feeling it is! … A journey of discovering new connections!
I have had around two years of in-class experience with the pre-primary children and have absolutely enjoyed and cherished every bit of it. And then came a sudden and unexpected turn in the lives of children and educators. Lots of questions started to cross my mind. Now what? How are we going to adapt to this? Online teaching? For the little ones? Will they be able to sit through the class and grasp concepts? Will we be able to deliver the content? Oh! and the concerns were never-ending.
But, as always, the little ones have completely managed to surprise me and proved that they can adapt to any change – be it handling a laptop/tab, muting and unmuting, communicating with their peers virtually, and being able to sit through for 30 mins in front of a physical space without much scope for movement that every preschooler yearns for. Students are doing a brilliant job of adapting to the current situation. They are sitting and are moving too and are trying every bit to embrace change.
On the first day of the online class, I was super nervous. I was wondering if I will be able to connect with my students virtually as I could in a physical classroom setup. Connections to me mean- understanding the child, getting comfortable with him/her, being able to discuss things openly with them, and sharing experiences. These are not only important to me but also to the child who is in pre-school. Indeed, before we start implementing our lessons, we need to establish connections. And, to my surprise, within no time, these connections were built with each student.
We have now grown into a class filled with lots of excitement and learning. Students eagerly wait for classes and love interacting with their friends virtually every day. If a student is absent on any given day, one student from the group always asks, “Ma’am, why hasn’t he/she joined yet? I cannot see him/her on the screen.” This is what is the real connection that I have discovered among our students in the virtual classroom.
The little interactions we have in the corridors, in-between lessons, in the play area/sandpit are irreplaceable. I was wondering how we could create these personal touchpoints with the students virtually. This is because these are the areas where children establish relationships with each other and with things all around.
But, as the days passed by, everything fell into place and we are all learning together. Everything is possible as long as we want it to happen and work towards it. The routines that were set during the initial days of online classes really helped in managing the classes more efficiently and productively. Few routines that made a lot of difference were – unmuting yourself when asked, raising your hand if you wanted to speak/share something, hands to yourselves, listening carefully while your friends were speaking, and waiting for your turn.
As the saying goes “Learning never ends”, be it in-class or virtual. It continues to be a great experience for me! Besides learning to teach, I have understood how important it is to make real-world connections with each other! We are all doing our best. Proud to be an educator!
Ms. Meghana C