This all occurred to me when I was in the classroom looking outside the window and not finding a single student walking to the building as before. This was the beginning of an unusual day, an unusual arrival and departure at the workplace. They were not there. The reason was new, unreal and unprecedented as the same outbreak had sealed almost the whole world.
COVID 19 happened to India and educational institutions were closed, indefinitely. We were asked to depart from the campus for almost 11 days up to 31 March 2020. Then happened the extension with the declaration of a national lockdown in India for 21 days i.e. up to 14 April 2020. The scenario is different now. The lockdown continues in the name of 'UNLOCK'. We are at home. So is everyone else around us and even far away from us. You are being asked to stay wherever you have been. This stagnation and closure have given a window to search for alternatives to all. It seems that the best we can do is to move faster than before in the direction to explore and utilise all possible alternative tools of learning.
At a time when face to face interaction is totally prohibited and shall remain so for some more time, the use of innovative methods is the game-changer. Using technology falls in this domain but imposing the implementation in order to achieve some awards is a stupid idea. It looks like a cheap prescription when we do not know for what we are making use of any tech-empowered resource in teaching-learning. Being a teacher, made competent by students, I knew the ways of learning and sharing it further. Since the day it came to me, the lockdown, I jumped to tech-enabled learning. Calling it teaching-learning will make it stereotype. It is better to understand and acknowledge all attempts to impart education as LEARNING only. Students were informed as early as 20 March 2020 that there shall be online classes. Initially Zoom and then Google Meet became the modes. Edmodo did remain and Quizizz added to the expansion of learning for us. Collaboration happened pretty well. Both the classes - BBA/BCom LLB (IV Sem) and the first year of Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPT) joined and led me to a new dawn of self-satisfaction. Each of them who came to the virtual classroom was there for a reason.
The university came later with the plan to engage them online. This might have happened as the COVID outbreak and lockdown had caught all by surprise. However, without waiting for any formal call from the office, the students had agreed happily to engage in classes online. Being a teacher who started classes with the word EMPATHY, I could not even think of abandoning them in these times. I might not be the best of a motivator or a counsellor, but being their teacher for a life-skill subject, I took it as a duty to stay connected. Asking them of their health, insisting them keep themselves safe and telling them to stay connected with friends was a routine. Then the classes concluded and those two months made it a meaningful lockdown.
Beyond the above, over and above it, I got to open a new dimension of learning and accomplishment. Till the first week of July, I have been able to engage in around 30 Faculty Development Programmes and Workshops as a Resource Person and have also earned a few certifications as an attendee. New things learnt and shared is the primary gift to self in this lockdown. The EduSoMedia and EklavyaParv movement have been able to push the Podcasts in Education mission to a significantly bright path. There have been more than 15 sessions/workshops I have taken with the mention and sessions on Podcasts in Education. That's indeed a celebrating thing for me as a teacher.
These new associations with the prime institutions and organisations have added to the learning network. The reason to state these personal accomplishments here is to establish the thought of 'Being Enterprising' even when there is a crisis or lockdown. With the help of mentors like Dr RC Sharma, I have been able to turn the Lockdown into a Slowdown. And the activities done each day are transforming this slowdown to the NEW NORMAL for me.
These are tough times. The mind does have a need to stay engaged, if not focused. We need to have a well-earned immunity now. Enterprising character is the most sought after virtue for us. We always wish that we get to do things that others will appreciate, adopt and then share further. Moving from teaching to learning has been rewarding, even if it has been a lockdown for the world. With these Learnings in the Lockdown, I feel blessed and feel that I should keep the regimen and discipline as well.
My Students and Teachers will certainly help me!