COVID-19 outbreak has been an epoch making event in many ways. Humanity is grappling with the pandemic with grim determination. While all are efforts are focused on fighting this calamity and keeping our families both immediate societal and safe, our professional selves are deeply worried about any permanent loss or damage to our students.
As the crisis has proven more tenacious and is persisting beyond reasonable time frame, we had to ramp up alternate ways of imparting education. Students simply can't afford being left behind during the crisis otherwise post crisis situation will be all the more challenging if we didn't get our act together. With this in mind, our teachers and staff decided to create a credible online system of education. This involved selection of platform, creation of material and content and find ways of keeping students interested and disciplined in their learning. This was a new environment for both teachers and students. St. Lawrence Public Sr. Sec. School, Dilshad Garden has always been at the forefront of innovative teaching method and that spirit came handy in these difficult times. Still, this level of online teaching platform was a different ballgame altogether. Both teachers and students had to undergo a steep learning curve.
First challenge was to agree on the principle of online learning. The management was unequivocal in adopting the most advanced system for the benefit of the students. With this leadership push, the teachers and staff rose to the challenge and prepared course material for two months worth of syllabus. It was a heart warming moment to see teachers and students struggling and mastering new tools. No one complained about resources, limitations and lack of knowledge. They accepted the challenge on front foot and dived bravely into the new world of extreme online learning.
Decision on platform was difficult. The management invested in a very prestigious tool and initial learnings and material was prepared on that. However, very soon official sources found that the platform was not safe and secured so entire enterprise shifted to another platform. Despite this unforeseen setback the situation was retrieved very quickly.
Teachers and staff created new ways of ensuring student's presence during online instructions. Whatsapp groups were formed. Hand holding during the on boarding period was
strong and caring. Buy-in for the new method increased.
Teachers showed great guts to adopt the new technology. Parents and students worked extra hard. Presence of parents in the households due to lockdown was a plus.
Today we are at a stage where online time table is being followed with same rigor as it happened in school. Classes cover full gamut of lecture, doubt clearing, presentations, assignments, quizzing, recorded lectures and special attention to the weak students. LPS has reached a level of expertise and confidence that we conducted online examination. That is a major breakthrough and a higher level of educational innovation.
This had its cost. Teachers spent much more time preparing and being available for the launch, management provided leadership and students persisted and kept faith. IT department and vendors rose to the occasion beyond call of duty. The set up created to meet the challenge is a permanent gain.
In these difficult times, academic deficiency is not the only concern. Overhang of pandemic and prolonged lockdown is proving to be very stressful for students and their families. Students of LPS are being supported by exercise regimes that they can undertake in the home. Music and motivational talks are given to them regularly. Online musical meetings were attempted with great enthusiasm. This is instilling a sense of calm and wellbeing in them. When ever teachers feel that any student is not able to cope, psychologists get in touch to provide support. Children are even participating competitions online.
This crisis, sad as it has been, is also a lesson in the perseverance of human spirit. Education community is the first to respond to the call of history and we educators simply can't cower under pressure. We owe it to our students and our country. Hope this crisis goes away quickly and lessons learnt during the challenging times give us more success.