Sindhu Joseph is an English Language Facilitator, Senior Secondary at Yuvabharathi Public School, Coimbatore. She holds her Master’s degree in English Literature and a Bachelor of Education degree in General and Special Education, specializing in Mental Retardation. With more than a decade of rich and diverse experience in the field of School Education, she firmly believes in the positive power of Joyful learning in transforming the lives of every student and teacher. Yuvabharathi Public School is a top-ranked CBSE school of this metropolitan city known for imparting holistic education and is also identified as one of the most innovative schools in South India.
There is an unspoken or unheard message that every student carries within him/her. Only teachers with ears of love can tune themselves to those unheard or unspoken voices of every student, especially of the ones who are in dire need of human connection. The words that are unspoken are the most important ones that should have been said, they carry an intense message.
A glimpse of a few Untweeted messages from our students!
A smile, please.
A smile certainly is a profound symbol of a connection made without words. The unprecedented pandemic-ridden circumstances have stolen the smiles from all mankind. People have almost forgotten to use those facial muscles! The Untweeted message from your student is ‘Teacher, please give me a smile, an assurance that everything is going to get better!’
Learning happens with ease if the teacher wears a smile. Letting the students know that they are in a safe and caring environment will accentuate their faith in humanity. Humanizing online learning should be the foremost focus now!
We teachers should learn to mask our personal anxiousness or apprehensions and put up a smile for them. Always be that one person who can spread positivity, smiles and happiness! Caution- A smile is contagious!
Do I exist?
Most of the students feel ignored or cut off from a teacher in a virtual classroom. The digital interface makes it even more challenging for a teacher to engage every student in a class of say 25-30. Making meaningful connections with students is more important now than ever before! Encourage them to share their thoughts with you.
Teachers should find means and ways to talk to the students, create ways for them to connect with you after class for extended help. I prefer on-record conversations with students to off-the-record conversations. A personal school mail id would be a wise choice to avoid misleading or inappropriate conversations.
Support them and make them feel they exist, that they are valued! that you see them as more than just a name on a class roll or an icon on the screen.
One moment, please!
The multifarious things that a teacher ought to do during the virtual class results in teachers yanking the students along with them into this rapid race to execute their lesson plan for the session. This intensifies the student’s feeling of being left out, especially the passive learners. Hence the untweeted message- ‘Dear Teacher, give me a moment to think, I’m trying to process what you’ve just said, I’m surrounded by potential distractions at home, it is hard for me to focus; Give me a moment to turn my camera and microphone on to respond to you, before you get frustrated and remove me from the class or pass my question to my peer; Give me a moment until the digital app opens in my phone, my network is poor; I’m unable to figure out how to do what you’ve assigned using my phone, I don’t have a PC and the list goes on…”
‘We keep calling this generation as digital natives as if they are whizzes at everything computerized, they aren’t’ wrote Tim O’Brien.
Our students need time and support both in a synchronous and non-synchronous mode of learning. Give them that time and support.
The manifold nuisances that a teacher can easily pick up in the regular classroom are being lost through the remote learning platforms. So it is highly essential for a dynamic teacher to look into these microscopic areas and not miss out on these unspoken or unheard voices. Every child entrusted into our hands is worth our attention, and our unbiased love!