Lockdown 3.0 is a reality I wake up to everyday. Not that I’m complaining. Lord knows, I needed this time away from school, children, term syllabus, piles of corrections, PTMs, the usual song and dance.
I juggled my domestic goddess persona (had no excuses to hide behind this time) and built bridges socially with old mates.
“Download Zoom! Quit being paranoid about this app.”
The world was coming to an end and everyone was riding the wave of nostalgia.
It was a sweet break till my school jumped on the online teaching-learning bandwagon with a gusto.
And with that I had a minor panic attack.
You see I chatted with my old mates who reportedly were video conferencing gurus. Yet this was the first 15 minutes with them.
“Why can’t I see you ?”
“Switch on your microphone.”
“Why is everyone speaking together?”
“Shut up everyone!”
“Where are the others? I can see only four.”
Now imagine substituting these with 44 primary students who did not know me; Day 1 of the new academic term. Then try holding their fleeting attentions through a screen especially when you are not a Spiderman or a Doremon or the familiar teacher. Trust me, it is not easy and I have seen children bored even with those options.
Fear made me dig up classmates with young kids, internet savvy colleagues, even bug the Young Knight peering into his laptop. His dramatic sighs were ignored as he mournfully stared at his packed online class shedule. I needed information and I wasn’t going to walk or rather talk my way in blind.
In the end it didn’t matter .
Zoom could wait but not WhatsApp classes.
The good news is I have cracked its mysterious ways. On the other hand, the extremely private person, that’s me, had to willingly share my phone number with unknown people when I formed the Class Group. Instantly I thought I was drowning, the messages from all those numbers pinged in thick and fast.
“Why is this group created when there is already one?” The urban legend of multiple WhatsApp School Groups were absolutely true.
“Please add my number along with my husband’s.” Work from home was a bummer for many parents.
“Please change the number, my other child takes her classes on this one.” What can I say, online classes are gold these days.
“Kindly share your Whatsapp number at the earliest so that it may be added to the group.” A shocker! Not everyone was online and that message was from me.
The relief in forming the group was shortlived. Interaction using the video call still loomed like a long overdue dental appointment. Anxiety gnawed me and my mind wouldn’t shut up.
Did I look frighteningly fat?
What was that peeking in the background?
Was I calling the same child again?
Why in the world aren’t the parents picking up my call?
Why was the child eating breakfast at 10.15 am? Call back later? Unbelievable!
Why am I being given a tour of the house?
Why is the camera pointing to the top of the head?
A three way video call? Anything to calm the mother and get the disinterested child stuck in another city to respond.
I suppose desperate times call for desperate measures; one is learning to teach and the other learning to understand, sitting at home, totally at the mercy of the gods of internet.
Oh ! Once I finish the video calls with the children and their parents / grandparents/ elder brother or sister, I sit with my fellow teachers to figure the Weekly Assignments.
Deep breathing exercises help when WFH becomes WTF! Try it.
We are down to Week 3. I can now safely say that perhaps these classes aren’t so bad.
Then a message dropped in yesterday.
Zoom classes will begin shortly in addition to WhatsApp. Please keep yourself free to join a practice session.
“Educational Guinea pigs, keep swimming like Dory.”
– Manjari Sharma.
I’m flapping already.
Wander essence : An early May cocktail hour