By: Sajitha Kareem (Center Head, UPAY Bangalore)
It’s time to gear up for online classes, something which is going to be the new normal apart from masks and social distancing norms these days.
A smart Phone survey? Done.
Internet connection? Checked.
WhatsApp video test call? Done.
All set for the first online class for students of Reach & Teach from UPAY Bengaluru Shikaripalaya Centre.
The WhatsApp Video class started with a teacher and 3 students – Reshma, Heena & Sana.
The first 5 minutes into the class everything was going well. Though, there’s a lot of background noise, as was expected.
But what was not expected were parents attending the class along with the students! No, you cannot see them on screen, but you can hear them pretty well.
The same children who were the daredevils in school are getting a voice prompt for each of their responses. And that’s okay! It’s just a first day, a new experience for everyone.
The interactive class starts with Google Earth as the topic of the day.
Reshma’s dad who held the phone for her was happy to see the Golahalli road in Google Earth. That’s the beauty of these online classes. Parents are getting a chance to learn along with their children. It was indeed a joyful moment.
Children wrote down the names of the continent they see on the mobile screen.
Meanwhile, Reshma’s internet connection seems to be slower, the images were not so clear for her.
She took a bit longer to write than Heena & Sana and asked me to repeat the spelling for her. I diligently obeyed.
Heena starts giggling, as it happens often in classroom learning: one stutter and other titters.
Just a loud “Silence!” by teacher brings the class back to attention.
But things are different now.
The next thing I heard was a frustrated remark by Reshma’s dad who got annoyed by Heena’s tittering. “Aise class nahi karna hai mujhe, Ye kyu hass rahi hai? Thoda time lete hai to mazak kyu udaa rahi hai?”
“Thoda hasi majak hoga to bacche bhi Khushi -Khushi sikhenge”.
This time it was Heena’s Mom!
“SILENCE” was something I needed to say but instead chose to say something of that sort to blow out the spark.
Soon, Reshma’s dad hung up the call.
Reshma was quite excitedly to see the continents floating in the ocean.
I couldn’t continue the class without her. So, I called up to talk to Reshma’s dad. It seems the sudden burst of anger was over the long-running brawl between both families. To cut that short, it took me a few minutes to get Reshma back to the class.
The first guideline of the online class was set then and there:
If students have any concerns, they can raise it during the class.
If Parents have any concerns, they should raise it only after the class.
And the class continued.
Just as I finished the class, my phone rang and it was Sana on the other end- “Ma’am, Reshma ke papa gussa kyu kar rahe the?”
Brace Up, Teachers! An Ocean Full of a learning experience is waiting for you as well!
The tail-ender- Reshma & Heena are the best of buddies in School. Looks like their mummy and papa are not!