Online teaching — the new normal to emerge during the lockdown — seems to be losing steam with teachers refusing to conduct classes due to “bullying” by students’ parents.
Several teachers, who switched over to the new platform just days ago, are already overwhelmed by the digital experience. They say they are under tremendous pressure, with parents constantly complaining about the poor quality of teaching, spelling mistakes, improper pronunciation, harsh tone of voice, lack of warmth towards children etc. Some videos depicting teachers in poor light owing to their pronunciation have gone viral on social media.
The interference by overenthusiastic parents has triggered debates in academic circles.
Teachers of several prominent private schools across Karnataka have told their managements that they will not conduct online classes anymore. Many have said goodbye to e-teaching sooner than they thought.
The school managements have also taken the problem seriously and are talking to parents. D Shashikumar, general secretary, Associated Management of Primary and Secondary Schools, Karnataka, said, “Several such cases of parents bullying teachers online have come to our notice. It is unacceptable. The online method of teaching is just a cosmetic solution and none of us recommend it as a permanent one.”
Several psychologists and top professionals have come to the rescue of teachers.
According to a renowned paediatric surgeon, no matter how skilled or experienced you are, doing a job while being watched live changes the stakes even while performing simple tasks. “Many parents ask me whether they can watch the surgery of their kids. I deny. The same is the case with teachers too.”
Dr Annapoorna, a psychologist, said, “Our teachers are trained to teach or handle kids in a classroom environment. Doing the same in front of a camera is a new experience for them. COVID-19 requires everyone to adapt to new challenges and this will happen only by way of learning. One cannot just point fingers at teachers.”
According to a retired vice-chancellor, more than the pronunciation, it is the end result that matters in education. “Some of the teachers who train kids for IIT, NEET exams may not pronounce well, but they are good at teaching the concepts. Sometimes while teaching kids at home, parents themselves lose patience. That being the condition, how can we expect teachers to be normal, especially when they are interacting with kids in a new medium?” he asked.
Another teacher at a reputed CBSE/ICSE school in Mysuru said, “It is easier to hold the child’s concentration in a physical classroom than in a virtual world. Surrounded by parents and other activities at home, they just do not listen. Teaching online is stressful and takes a toll on our mental health.”