The role of teaching has widened during the pandemic as classes move from offline to online. Apart from regular lessons, they have to instill healthy habits and Covid-19 appropriate behaviour in pupils.
As a teacher, knowing the facts will not only protect yourself but also your students. Be aware of fake information and dangerous myths about Covid-19 circulating that are feeding fear and stigma. It is the duty of teachers to debunk stories and ‘miracle cures’ peddled by WhatsApp doctors.
Let me share a few important points stressed by UNICEF which may be useful to the teaching community.
Understanding Covid-19, how it spreads and how we can protect ourselves and others is an important first step in establishing classroom procedures and protocols.
Students need to understand what it is in order for them to follow the rules.
Listen to their concerns and ideas and answer their questions in an age-appropriate manner. Discuss the different reactions they may experience and explain that these are normal reactions to an abnormal situation. To encourage your students to stick to the rules, it can be helpful to create a dos and don’ts list with them.
Develop a list together around how students will greet each other; how desks will be arranged; physical distancing measures during lunch breaks. Even with clean hands, encourage students to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.
Germs can transfer from those areas to their clean hands and spread around the classroom this way. It is better to prepare and maintain handwashing stations with soap and water, and if possible, place alcohol-based hand sanitizers in each classroom, at entrances and exits, and near lunchrooms and toilets.
Identify some practical steps/activities you can take to demonstrate good hygiene practices to your students. Teachers need to educate the students.
Teachers should play the role of parents during this period. One has to keenly observe all the students and note down the changes if any are found.
If the teacher fails to perform his role effectively then the situation will be unpredictable. Listening, analyzing and deciding plays well this time.
Student’s health is the top priority. Administration also has to arrange Covid Protocol posters in the institution. Prevention is better than the cure. This principle is to be taken into consideration.
Let all go well. (The author is an educationist. firstname.lastname@example.org)