The pandemic has changed every aspect of life as we once knew. Church doors have been closed for almost two years. Malls and markets no longer buzz with life. Classrooms in schools and colleges have collected dust. Yes, education has changed dramatically and with the distinctive rise of e-learning, teaching and learning have become a real challenge for both students and teachers. But switching to a new mode of education is not just a challenge for teachers, it has become an activity that requires innovation, adaptation, creativity and for some, a whole set of tech lesson needs to be learnt all over again. For many teachers, ecpecially the seniors, it has become a necessity to take lessons on how to handle techs and gadgets in order to conduct online classes.
This year's Teachers' Day has an even greater significance in light of the challenges that teachers have faced during the Covid-19 crisis. Particularly in remote places like Mizoram where the overall internet connection is weak and unstable most of the time, and with many students having little access to to laptops and smart phones, teachers have to walk the extra mile to ensure that the lessons reach the students. There have been stories about teachers who work in schools in rural Mizoram who have subscribed internet connection for their students. Teachers have also worked their creativity using household objects as teaching aids to make sure that children learn a thing or two through the online classes. For senior teachers, teaching and learning have gone hand in hand as they tried to grab hold of new techs and softwares, learning how to operate Zoom and Google Meet so that their students remain in touch with a classroom- like setting. As the pandemic has shown us, teachers make crucial contribution to ensure the continuity of learning and supporting the mental health and well- being of their students.
In this crisis, teachers have shown as they have done so often, great leadership and innovation in ensuring that learning never stops, and that no student is left behind. In a state like Mizoram where the majority of school and college students do not have immediate access to laptops and computers, conducting online tests and exams have also become a tedious task for teachers. Since the past years, exams have been conducted in such a way that teachers invigilate the students from their screens and students write their answers on plain papers. The answer papers are then scanned and mailed to the teachers. Apart from making the effort to maintain a healthy exam environment, checking hundreds of handwritten answer papers through mobile and laptop screens is another challenging task faced by teachers in Mizoram. But through all these, teachers have worked individually and collectively to find solutions and create new learning environments for their students to allow education to continue.
On this Teachers' Day, let us honour the passion, dedication and creativity of all the teachers who are keeping the flame of education alive through the virtual classrooms.