The worksheet ‘Corona and I’ by Sriparna Tamhane in the August 2020 issue of Teacher Plus gave me a wonderful opportunity to understand my learners during the lockdown period. The pandemic has forced us to meet our students on a virtual platform, many a times with their faces hidden, often with false, fake names! We were faced with new situations – students muting themselves, talking to others present in their respective rooms rather than interacting with the teacher!
Amidst all this chaos, I was learning and unlearning things, as I struggled with new technological challenges that the unusual situation had brought on us. Being a class teacher was added pressure. Often, I failed to connect faces with the names of my students. Altered classroom settings created challenging situations for me; I realized how the spatial arrangement of students in a ‘classroom’ was a thing I had taken for granted. Handling all these issues left me completely incapable of understanding, leave alone guiding my students – a thing that was my prime and most important role as their teacher.
The worksheet around this time was a real saviour! Making minor alterations, I made the worksheet available to the children. What I got through their responses was an unimagined treasure of learning. Each response was unique, original, honest and sincere. Reading the responses was a joyous experience. Some were hilarious, making me laugh out loud. Some were touching, making me emotional. At times, a serious inquiry made me wonder how an 11 year old child could think in this manner. My work had increased. My students had taught me new lessons! I was listening carefully to their voices, taking notes, some of which I later shared with the whole class.
These responses make such wonderful reading that I thought of sharing them with more people. I am sure these will lighten up your mood!
Presented as received:
1: What has changed?
Our lives have changed in some ways since the pandemic. These are the ways in which life has changed since the spread of the pandemic:
- We wash our hands daily to stay healthy.
- Life has become miserable.
- Got new spectacles.
- We are in an environmentally better situation.
- Learnt to live with minimal food stock.
- Learnt to do all household work.
- Discovered ourselves.
- We are not buying fast food, like KFC, Dominos.
- We have become restless or tech-savvy.
- Masks have become new style statement.
- Many have lost their jobs and lost their loved ones.
2. Another lockdown, another time: Ask your parents or grandparents whether they have seen another time when they had been asked to stay indoors at specific times due to a war or disease. When did it happen? What was it like? How did they cope with it?
- My father told me a story about World War II when people in India, especially Kolkata, used to hide inside their houses for the fear of bombing by the Japanese Army. Also, he said that many many years ago, there were outbreaks of Plague, Cholera and Black Fever in Kolkata as epidemics, where people were forced to go for home quarantine to save their lives.
- In 1962 during Sino-Chinese war when Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru declared emergency in India, citizens were not allowed to go outside after evening due to security reasons. My grandparents used to obey the rules by not going outside in a group of more than 4 due to Section 144. They used to switch off the lights and stay in-house, lighting candles only during night time.
3. Write a Letter! Write a letter to coronavirus describing your thoughts and feelings about the sickness all around and asking it to leave so that your friends and family can all be healthy and you can go back to school to meet your friends again!
a. Dear Corona
Because of you thousands and thousands of people are dying, because of you so many students are locked in the room including me. Everyone is against you, everyone wants to finish you. So many friends cannot meet each other. Even we cannot go out for fun with our family. Why? Why corona, please do not try to harm us. We do not want you to go but please do not harm anyone. Sitting in the home is so boring. Think if you were locked like this in a room, how sad would you feel!! Please corona do not harm us.
b. Dear Corona
I am a child from kolkata. I Am requesting you to leave the earth. You could be a better virus by not harming others. If you love earth so much then you can just visit the earth only once in 3 years and you must not harm. Many people have died even if you have not gone inside them but by losing jobs and not getting food. So please accept my request.
c. Dear Corona
I know you are more powerful than any superhero, but in a human’s life you are a very powerful VILLAIN!! I really admire how you took over the whole world but you know we don’t like you. Each person on earth is telling you to go. So it’s a request please go back to the “VIRUS LAND” you came from. Go and tell your virus friends how you became the most powerful virus and take the “BEST VIRUS AWARD”. You need a rest after playing with millions and millions of humans. BYE BYE!
Your admirer and enemy,
d. Dear Corona
This is not a friendly letter. I am writing to you with a lot of anguish, sadness and tears. You are playing around very hard these days to destroy our planet and to kill as many people as you can. You are like a black cloud on a sunny day. Are you trying to punish us? From what? Have we made any mistake? Why are you attacking us? I think you should see the misery that you have caused throughout the world. But I’m sure, that one day or the other, your strength will be destroyed once and for all. Covid Warriors across the world are working round the clock to invent your anti-dose vaccine to make humankind free from your infectious virus.
e. Dear Corona
We are following certain precautions to fight against you. I am sure that one day we are going to be successful, and you will leave the world. My family and friends will recover soon, and the entire world will come back to normalcy. So don’t you harm the world anymore, I want to go to school and meet my friends and teachers again. But for you I am not being able to do that. Remember, we are all fighting against you, and once you lose the battle then everybody will be happy again and people will start going to offices and schools. So start packing your bags and do not show your face anymore! “We are in this together – and we will get through this, together.”
f. Dear Corona
Before you came, we could not understand the mistake we had made. We had cut billions of trees and sent 70 million tons of poisonous gases into the air every year. We will try to rectify this as well but you are causing harm to those who have nothing to do with it. Please go away from this world.
4. Imagine! Imagine you are the chief minister of the state you live in. What five rules will you make to keep people safe from coronavirus. You can talk to your parents and listen to the news to get an idea!
1. I would keep every Wednesday’s lockdown. On that day I would do complete sanitization.
2. On every alternate day I would provide every poor person with purified water, cooked food, masks and sanitizers.
3. I would provide the internet and gadgets to every poor person so that their children can accomplish their studies.
4. As soon as vaccines are discovered, I will provide it to poor people without any cost. To let the development of the state go on, I will take very little cost from people who can afford vaccines.
5. More hospitals will be built with experienced doctors so that treatment can be provided to all.
6. Order all scientists to stop working on H-bombs and make medicines for corona. I will invent a type of clothing – All corona-proof clothing.
7. I will attach magnets with every object such as football and basketball so that every citizen can play by maintaining social distancing!
5. New solution! The spread of the coronavirus has created many problems for us and new solutions to those problems are needed. Think of a new machine or system that you would like to invent in order to deal with one such problem! You can draw your invention and write about it!
- Kill the corona!
I could make a type of an alarm system which could sense any type of virus when it enters the atmosphere. I would also like to have a Corona Spray Killer like the Mosquito Killer spray.
During this pandemic situation, sanitizers are in great demand, but they are made very less compared to today’s demands. So I would like to invent a new machine, where there will be two water-holders. One water holder will turn the water into sanitizer and the other water-holder will turn the water into hand wash. If I make this, I can supply hand washes and sanitizers all over our country!
3. A machine which cures all!
My machine will have a type of food. Very tasty, and it can cure anything in the world- whether corona or cancer, whether normal flu or AIDS. But this can’t cure people who are already dead. So people have to bring their patient before he/she dies.
During the pandemic all the household chores have to be done by us. There are many old and young people who are facing a lot of problems due to this. So I want to make a ROBOT which works on VOICE COMMAND that can help in household cleaning, cooking, etc.
5. Mask it up!
Wearing a mask is essential during this pandemic, but many people face problems wearing a mask as the oxygen supply to the body decreases on continuously wearing a mask. So I would like to design a mask which I will name ” Green Mask ” – which will convert the carbon dioxide to oxygen and help people breathe smoothly.
6. Vaccine is Out!
I had actually done this at home – I made a vaccine. First I took a glass of hot milk. Then I took some blackberries and mixed it with it. My vaccine is now ready!!!!
Being a junior scientist I know only a vaccine is antidote to the viral attack. The vaccine I’m going to invent is ACO-Vaccine Plus and an instrument COVID -DETECTOR for diagnosis at a minimum cost.
The author is a mathematics educator working in The Future Foundation School, Kolkata. She specializes in middle school mathematics teaching and has been working on extending the scope and understanding of mathematical skills to improve life skills in children. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.