There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased the challenges already faced by teachers around the globe. With already limited resources and the added uncertainty facing the future of traditional education systems, teachers have been forced to creatively overcome the roadblocks caused by the coronavirus in order to bridge the gaps in learning.
In honour of World Teachers’ Day 2020, Generations For Peace is amplifying the voices of our team of teachers around the world, who are determined to ensure their students receive a quality education no matter the circumstances. Read what they had to say when asked how COVID-19 has impacted teaching and how they were overcoming it:
Abdul Rahman Mariam, Ghana
Like many of my fellow teachers, I felt helpless at the start of the pandemic. I wanted to help, so I educated myself from trusted sources, which gave me the confidence to help my peers. However, I know that having access to information and resources is not easy for everyone. As a teacher, I have seen how lack of information and resources reflects inequalities in education access; For example, while some students can learn online, others face limited access to technology. To help bridge this gap, I began giving classes to my students over the phone. Now more than ever, I believe that the world needs to work together. As I have been telling my students: “We have to be part of the solution, not the problem.”
Areej Al-Jarrah, Jordan
This year has been very difficult, especially for us teachers. As a drama teacher, I kept thinking to myself, how can I continue our classes while my students are all in different places? I knew I couldn’t let my frustrations take over, so I began to brainstorm how I could continue teaching and supporting my students amongst the new circumstances. I came up with the idea of launching a virtual theatre that allows my students to remotely continue our class. The psychological and moral support shared throughout our online lessons were just what we needed to stay strong throughout the quarantine.
Shamshiev Talantbek, Kyrgyzstan
I believe that teachers are the most valuable people for every society, since the future of family, community, country, and even the whole world depends on their efforts and work. While our work has been greatly complicated by the pandemic, we must preserve with the end goal in mind; We as teachers educate, guide, and lead the way for a bright future for our students, and we cannot stop doing this now! We play a great role in positively impacting the next generation. I motivate myself during these times by reminding myself of the joy and happiness I feel when my students succeed in their lives.
Slavica Filipovikj, Republic of Macedonia
There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has negatively impacted the educational sector and made it more difficult to connect with our students. It has led to the alienation of our students and impeded their ability to create friendships. It is up to us as teachers to lead our students during this difficult time. We can overcome a lot of the challenges by relying on various tools available to implement distance learning and check-in on our students to ensure they feel socially connected. Our efforts will be reaped when we see our students after a few years displaying maturing and making positive differences in their community.
Bernard Bussi, Uganda
COVID-19 has had massive implications on the educational sector and on my personal life, including uncertainty regarding our economic status as well as limited physical social interactions. However, as a teacher, I have been able to overcome these challenges using critical thinking and problem solving and instilling these skills in my students. We have turned to digital media platforms to keep interactions continuing as normal as possible, and I encourage everyone around the world to do the same. We will overcome this pandemic together!
Alaa Omar, Yemen
We are going through difficult times. Since October 2019, we have not opened our schools because of the teachers’ strike and then due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Us teachers and local GFP volunteers have been trying to come up with alternative ways to allow us to continue teaching safely. Our perseverance allowed us to find a solution where we could safely meet with our students and continue our educational classes and programmes in order to alleviate the stress they faced associated with the coronavirus. As this year continues, it is up to us teachers to lead by example and take all necessary precautions and measures to limit the spread of the virus.
Edson Chirowodza, Zimbabwe
We are living in one of the most challenging times the world has ever seen, and this reality requires us educators to rise to the challenge and lead our society while prioritising safety, peace, and security. While physical distancing requirements have made it challenging for us to continue the traditional mode of teaching, we have adapted quickly and migrated to teaching via online digital platforms. Indeed, we teachers are “leading in crisis and reimagining the future.” Happy World Teachers’ Day to all!