As the pandemic continues to rage across the globe, parents, teachers, and students continue to face the challenge with courage and tenacity. Many schools have explored flexible school schedules, limited classes, and asynchronous learning methods, while parents have to contend with the challenges of at-home schooling and to provide the guidance of their children in their lessons. Needless to say, many parents now see the teachers of their children in a new light.
Many parents now see their children’s teachers and schools as part of the support and safety net for their children. These safety nets include meals, counselling and even social and medical support. A recent survey revealed that 80 per cent of parents have a new appreciation of what teachers do, while 77 per cent think they should be paid more. While this has not resulted in anything else, it has sparked discussion on how governments and schools could build a better system that rewards teachers appropriately.
Being a Teacher in a Pandemic
The current global situation has made it clearer that teachers are part of the essential workforce, but they might face a similar risk to those of health workers when schools reopen. Many teachers are also facing a new challenge: using digital technology for their lessons. Not many are accustomed to video conferencing, and many older teachers find the learning curve too steep. Many are not familiar with Zoom or Google Meets, or even when to turn on a camera or mic. But most teachers had to dedicate more time and effort in helping parents and grandparents guide their children at home. This meant that teaching in virtual reality was a safer but harder choice.
In some countries like Singapore, where teachers receive a significantly higher salary, teachers are used to dealing with long hours and heavier workloads. But the pandemic gave them another challenge: teaching through video conferencing. For many teachers, it was a challenge. Government and international schools had to create lines of communication and lessons that were geared for online lessons. Many used learning management systems, but most schools used online apps and tools to create experiential learning for their students.
World Teachers’ Day Will Be More Significant
October 5 is World Teachers’ Day, and for many families and teachers, it will be more important this year. Some schools and parents might be planning to give their teachers a unique thank you, but most teachers might prefer a relaxing day at home, without the feeling of working 24 hours a day. Some teachers would also want their governments to review their working conditions, salaries, and benefits. Only three countries in the world provide teachers with a salary that is competitive and rewarding: Italy, Finland and Singapore. Many teachers in other countries wonder when their governments could do the same.
Many parents and students now understand the value of going to school, joining a class, and having a teacher during a lesson. For many students, it could mean the difference between a day spent in hunger and neglect to a day filled with stories, friendship and guidance. And this is all due to a teacher’s dedication.