S. Rajeswari (name changed) has been a social science teacher for middle and high school students at a state run school in the neighbourhood for five years. She says the lockdown has made things difficult for teachers who work with under privileged students.
She says, “Most of the children in our school come from a very poor background. Their parents are daily wage earners whose first priority is putting food on the table. The children who come to our school are sometimes unable to eat three meals a day. For these children and parents, education is the last of their priorities. Coming to school in the morning is very challenging for them. And that is all we want them to do because the minute they enter the school campus we take care of all their needs. We feed them, we educate them and also act as counselors. Many of them constantly see their parents fighting over monetary issues and that affects them. When they come to school and share their troubles with us, we counsel them and tell them how to deal with these issues”.
She continues, “At school, we are constantly monitoring their education. If they need help, we keep them at school for a little longer and take extra classes. To ensure that they have understood, we ask them to explain with the help of the blackboard. We go through their notebooks everyday and make sure they have understood the corrections made. All this has not been possible because of the lockdown. We have been sending them lessons through Whatsapp but we are not able to constantly supervise them like we do at school. For example, I send them links for maps that they can revise. I don’t know if they have gone through the information in the link completely. At school, I could just hang a map in the classroom and ask them to point out where the countries, rivers or deserts were”.
She adds, “This year, the students of class X are writing the new syllabus for the first time and we are really worried about them especially since they will be sitting for the exams without even a week of face to face revision with us”.