Ready for new beginnings?

Viral Vimal Shah

What have I accomplished in my two decades of teaching? Have I lived up to my expectations? My two decades have given me 20 wonderful (beg)innings and 19 power-packed endings. It has been a beautiful transformation of a novice into a learner called ‘teacher’. Some students have made me think while some needed my support, a few students found new direction and many inspired me to be a better version of me. What a diverse culture of learning is seen in every beginning!

One such memorable year of opportunities was 2020 – a year that completely changed how we perceive learning. The world will not remember 2020 for the pandemic, but it will be recognized for the remarkable transformation of the education sector. Yes, the year was marked by a lot of pain, inhibition, anticipation and uncertainty. But great beginnings are full of chaos and big bangs. I remember the month of April’20 when the start of the academic year was as yet undetermined. I was not sure how to reach my students and I was not the only one. Everyone of us had questions and we found the answers in technology. School was never like that! Not even in our wildest thoughts! The beginning was full of doubts and inquisitiveness. It’s not that I was not aware of technology. Digital classroom, online resources, Internet were all there since I started working as a teacher, but how would these take the form of a virtual school? As teachers we are very sure of ourselves and of what we do in the comfort of the school building, but in the virtual world, where anyone with access could watch me, listen to me, I didn’t think I’d be so sure-footed. But all thanks to my trainers, they did a marvelous job of transforming teachers like me into techno-savvy teachers.

The day came when my students and I finally saw each other on our screens. The digital time-table in place of print outs, digital textbooks in place of the hard copies, e-resources in place of physical ones, online meets instead of classroom meetings, the list goes on…. We teachers are well-equipped now. In fact, we are so familiar with technology that we have managed to replicate all the events we used to conduct in physical school on the virtual platform with the same enthusiasm and pomp. I am now completely ready for this ‘new normal’. The best part is to see my students taking up this change enthusiastically as well.

The year passed on. Virtual tests and new ways of conducting exams were discovered to ensure that learning has taken place. The virtual platform had its limitations, but the world is changing and we have to embrace this change unless we are ready to be swept aside.

Every power-packed beginning should have a potent ending. And so it was. The year brought so many laurels in the form of awards, marks and success stories. I could see how much my students had accomplished in the year. The end of the year made me realize that it was just a b’end’ in the journey of learning. I am sure the bend will take me to another new beginning.

The author is a passionate teacher who has been in the field of education for 20 years. She is currently working in Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s (Vidyashram) Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. She can be reached at [email protected].

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