Ever since the massive transition in educational settings, from the physical world to the
virtual world, we have been rather keen (as we should be) to point out the pros and cons of
online education, especially from the perspective of students’. In this article, however, I
would like to shift the focus to the challenges that educators, particularly, have to overcome
to enable effective learning online. The task that teachers have at hand is gargantuan. What
are some of the difficulties that teachers have to overcome on a regular basis while teaching
Anyone who has seen teachers engage in teaching through the online mode, must know that teachers have it harder. They don’t just have to adapt to a new medium, that is rather recent and ever evolving, but have to deal with the technological limitations that arise from it as well. Just last week, a professor of mine continued teaching for one whole hour, without even realizing that she had been cut off from the meeting due to poor network connectivity.
Some teachers, especially, may be older and technical skills may not come second nature to
them. Not just because of their age, but simply because they grew up in a generation where
the internet was not omnipresent. For these reasons, they may have to depend on somebody else to help them out during the process. This may directly affect their sense of independence as individuals and in worst cases, may lead to excessive self-doubt and questioning themselves, taking a toll on their mental health.
While teaching offline may have been as equally exhausting as teaching online, the former is
more fulfilling. Watching their work have an impact on the children directly is a source of
contentment and an encouragement for teachers to continue doing what they do. Nodding
heads or raised hands, looks of confusion or expressions of understanding: these nonverbal
gestures play a huge role in how teachers approach a topic. Getting a response from students in an online class, however, is often difficult. Therefore, in an online setting the exhaustion is exacerbated. Teachers may easily become unmotivated, and burnouts may occur as a result.
Despite all these personal and emotional implications, teachers keep trying. They come up
with novel ideas to engage us to make sure learning happens, including preparing quizzes/
games or conducting polls, that allow us to interact. They add an occasional video in the
lessons or a recommended film to watch, just to incorporate variety to excite us. Hence, the
next time they ask a simple question, with a simple yes or no answer, try to respond. Just one
voice interacting can make their day. The least we can do, as students, is to be compassionate and kind to our teachers and to remember that they’re trying, too.