An Undying Spirit to Exist
The story of our undying spirit to exist to not perish to prevail!
Here I sit down to pen my thoughts about our very existence, the scientific theory of Natural Selection, the survival of the fittest that Darwin once talked about.
Well, didn’t we live that in the past year? We survived every day of the pandemic that hit us at roughly the same time last year. Yes, an Anniversary of our Adversary- The Corona Attack on the whole world.
We were confined to the 4 walls of our homes, which were once only our abode and retreat from the daily hassles of life. But now we find ourselves confined to those walls with our loved ones with whom we hardly interacted for more than a few hours in a day. We were separated from the office desks, files, and books that we sank our heads into all day, our regular to and fro journeys from work, our colleagues, our friends and to quickly summarize, our daily acquaintances.
Do we even remember the initial days of stocking up for the upcoming dreadful days, our quick visits to the supermarkets where shelves were almost empty? I remember filling my grocery bags with things I never bought otherwise. That was the scare we were witnessing back then. But when it started to happen around us, how did we react? Well, I think we didn’t react but learnt to respond. We adapted to the prevailing conditions and started looking at things from a perspective of making the best out of whatever we had in our hands.
Be it at the family level or the outside business world, be it we teachers or the students; everyone for that matter were knowingly or unknowingly adapting to the conditions. We adapted to the use of online tools to the best of its use. We used the internet to the best of its abilities. We explored an increasing number of gadgets and applications available out there, which we rarely looked at before this time because we were too comfortable with the old ways of running businesses.
One such tool that turned out to be a boon in interacting with students is MS Whiteboard. It not only assisted me with diagrams but also with numericals, equations and what not. When I think of my practice, I felt one method that really touched the cords with students is using available examples from the surroundings, I used to do this in the classrooms as well but being at home added a different dimension to it altogether. For instance, from my window, I see an agricultural farm. One day, a tractor was ploughing the fields. Something clicked in my mind and I captured a video of it. Coincidently, at the same time I was teaching the topic of Force and Pressure to 8th graders and used the video to explain the effects of force. The response from the students was a hit!
We also adapted emotionally. I personally believe that was and for that matter, still is the greatest adaptation ever we have practiced in recent times. We got to know the harsh realities of loneliness, of not being able to connect with our loved ones and friends, and also having to share our space and privacy with our family members for the first time in many years. Somewhere, it was also nature telling us to take a pause and appreciate what we have been bestowed upon with.Mother Earth began healing herself, which was quite evident due to many common observations such as rivers and lakes no longer witnessing froth formation in major cities across India, Swans returning to the channels of Venice, good to very good AQI in otherwise polluted cities and so on.
We were healing as well, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, physically, and what not. People came out and shared their stories of how they cooked all the food items possible, practiced yoga, adopted various health routines, rejuvenated their long-lost passions and learnt new art forms.
We as teachers learnt to impart knowledge over online classes. Our biggest classroom tool was eye-to-eye contact with our students. With a mere exchange of looks in the classroom, we could tell everything about how a child perceived a certain piece of information. But with this whole new tool of taking classes online we were severed off from our greatest tool. But still, we prevailed. We slowly and steadily took steps to utilize all the guidance we got from the resource people and made amendments whenever we made an error. We learnt and never stopped. Today is the day when teaching online is a part of our lives and is done by us almost effortlessly.
On the other side of the same screen are the teenagers, children, youngsters, and students of all ages. They were witnessing something unbelievable as well. They could no longer speak out at their turn or ask a question to their teachers without thinking too much. They could no longer whisper to their confidants during a lecture or demonstration taking place in the classroom. They could no longer chit-chat over snacks with their best friends about how the discussion went during the previous class and so on. They were struggling as well, may be more than we ‘grown-ups’ can ever imagine.
Parents were trying to help the students in all possible ways as they became major stakeholders in the teaching-learning process like never before. They were juggling between their professional commitments and the biggest commitment of all that they have with their own-born. At CHIREC, we were not only listening to parents and extending our support to them by providing one on one support and time to time directions. Guidelines were released for parents to stay informed with timely reports on student progress. Feedback received from parents during one-to-one interactions was taken into consideration while designing new initiatives such as the daily 30 minutes of non-academic interaction with the students.
These opportunities were created for them to freshen up and lighten their moods so that they could have a more fruitful day ahead.
Special Activities were planned like Masti Monday, Talent Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday and likewise. Global Be Well Day by Cognita was another such initiative where efforts were made to bring students, teachers, parents, and grandparents together on one platform. As a result, we created beautiful moments to be cherished forever.
Well as it is rightly believed, it is not the destination but the journey itself that is more valuable and memorable. In this regard as well, the pandemic must be looked at as a lesson to remember that generations to come will hear about. The ones who lost their lives during this battle will be in our thoughts forever. The frontline warriors like doctors, healthcare workers, police, cleanliness workers, news reporters, government officials who were on the field, teachers, anganwadi workers, and everyone involved have gained every bit of their well-deserved respects from us for eternity.
At last, I believe we all must “look-up” to every challenge we face. We may fail but with consistent efforts, success will be at the end of the tunnel. Not to forget, failures can also give lessons so great that even successes can’t impart! And being social animals by nature we must believe and practice co-existence, not only with our own kind but Mother-Earth too must be given her impending share of respect and care that she deserves.
An illustration- Voyage
Class Teacher of Grade IX B
Teacher at CHIREC from 2015. I love to believe that I have to achieve a lot more and it keeps me going even during the toughest of times. I draw strength from the moments I have shared with my father. I believe he watches over me and my loved ones in ways more than we can understand and explain. I am a nature lover and I aspire to plant trees in every possible corner my eyes can see. I am doing my little bit in this regard starting with my own abode. I am a traveler who can’t complete her journey on this earth without exploring unseen lands and beyond.