In my previous write ups The year 2020 and Turmeric and covid 19, I was reminiscing about the covid lock down period, how I used to tackle the grave situation of living with the viruses around- fighting against the unseen enemy. The woes of those days of 2020 were never ending for some professionals like teachers, doctors, nurses/ healthcare workers and police. While the health care workers had gone through the toughest time of their life, the police community also had the brunt of it as they had no time to take rest as the public was uncontrollable. Keeping the millions of people inside the home to prevent the spread of the disease was nevertheless easy. Both the communities, doctors and police did great work which need to be applauded undoubtedly. Another community which could not take rest is the teaching professionals. The teachers or the educators had to keep the youngsters busy which not only helped the young ones to get enlightened about their study topics, different online platforms, use of gadgets but also it prevented them to go outside. During the lock down it was really tough to keep the young and energetic to remain engaged. The teachers in schools were using chalk and boards to teach but sudden lock down made them to adopt the laptop teachings. The proper training to the teachers and students to use online platforms were not given in most of the cases. Therefor it became very challenging for all educators to conduct online classes. Most of the time both teacher and students face the connectivity problems, audibility was an issue and then conveying the matter to the students effectively was herculean task. The parents of the school children were not convinced about the capability of the teacher and the expressed their displeasure without considering the effort of the teachers.
How the educators in all levels dealt with challenges of online teaching? They used whatsapp to remain connected to students. They used zoom, google meet or Cisco web-ex to teach students. They had to learn about the security aspects of all the online platforms. Many teachers prepared videos of the lessons and posted them in Instagram, facebook and you tube. Those tasks weren’t easy enough! My own experience is not pleasant. My young son helped me a lot to get acquainted with online teaching. I just cant imagine my plight without his help! The students use to message anytime of the day without caring much about our availability or convenience. I had to answer all their queries as I knew their demand must be addressed to avoid unnecessary chaos. And I know that all educators are facing a tough time while teaching online as their work time is extended now, round the clock hey must be alert. They cant say ” I need to unplug to look after my own family and myself”! If one can realise the plight of teachers now, then, they must also include that most of the teachers lost their jobs or they are not paid. The gist of becoming a teacher remained same- they are the poorest among all professionals!
Now if we consider the other professionals, then are also not happy either. The “work from home’ folks are facing the same brunt of overworking. Since they are at home, like teachers they had to prepare their working space at home, own internet, own system and the time from morning to late night- they are busy with their work. Nobody is allowed to demand the time of unplugging. That sounds uncivilized or lack of mannerism.
In this high tech era or digitization, everyone who works with computer or laptops have no specific time for work. They have grown a habit of checking mails/ messages or doing office work while commuting. The driver speaking with the mobile phone is a common scene. A study conducted by the University of the West of England found that 54% of the rail passengers spent their journey into work looking at emails. Logically, going through emails on the way to work should actually be counted as ‘work’. Otherwise , the smartphones and widespread internet access on journeys is causing a “blurring of boundaries” between life at home and work. I agree that there are individuals who like to ‘catch up’ or stay on top of things while travelling, or at home, if that suits them. After all, the era is of competitions and one has prove oneself, hence there are people who sacrifice their family life and get too much indulged in work, at anytime or at anyplace. It’s certainly a personal decision that can contribute to well being if it’s not made under some kind of duress. Then again one must not forget the stress caused by always online and always working may lead to irreversible damages to the body an mind. The damages caused by the exposures to the radiations of mobile phones and electronic gadgets are a different story altogether.
Going high tech obviously causes high stressful life as most of the professionals are now forced to work for more hours than usual, there is no definite time to unplug. This problem must be addressed by the employers and the stakeholders of the society.