Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
A teacher plays a pivotal role in shaping a student's life. School life is a special period in the lives of children. We all have learnt about human connection when we made friends.
Many of us have also found the best of friends among our teachers.
However, while we often appreciate those who teach in educational institutions, we forget to give the much-deserved attention to tutors who teach at home. While we also focus on the plight of students, we overlook the tremendous hard work that goes behind teaching them from home.
While the pandemic initially brought our lives to a standstill, we are learning to adapt to the changes and move on in life. Each day is a new struggle.
For home tutors, the challenges are plenty, and the scope to complain and vent, very little.
In times as tough as these, The Logical Indian spoke to tutors to understand the challenges of teaching online.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Tapashi Dey, a mathematics tutor from Kolkata, says: "The sudden shift to online classes has not been easy for either the students or the teachers. I acknowledge and appreciate the effort that school teachers are putting in, but in my honest opinion, the process is more difficult for a private tutor."
"My entire income depends on teaching. In these trying times, I have realised how easily replaceable home tutors are. I teach students of different classes. As a tutor, I know I have to pay very close attention to every single student, because the moment they do not score well, their parents would consider changing their tutor. Losing even one student is a huge loss for me," she adds.
Tapashi's acquaintances say she is extremely hardworking.
"As a teacher, I use every method possible to ensure that my students study comfortably. I often face network issues in my area, but I keep going," says Tapashi.
"A challenge that I have continuously faced is ensuring that each student understands what I am teaching. When it's not face-to-face, they often fail to respond," she says. "The effort to not only make them understand but also to ensure that they understood can often get tiring. At the end of the day, I have to make sure that I don't lose them, and in turn lose a comfortable living. If a school teacher fails to meet the parents' expectations, they cannot change the school as easily as they can replace a private tutor."
Tapashi encourages parents to let their children play and be out in the open to lead a healthy life.
"I understand the children's struggle as well. They need time for themselves," she says.
"The one challenge I personally face while teaching online is to draw the attention of the students and maintain the same. Network issues at times tend to hinder the learning experience as well. Besides, some students are a bit apprehensive about the entire online platform as a medium of learning, as they are not used to it. They are of the mindset that learning anything online can hardly ever be successful," says Sudeshna Trivedi, who teaches English, History and Geography.
"For school teachers, the timing stays intact whereas for home tutors the entire schedule for tutoring has changed. Since it's online and students know that we are at our homes, they tend to contact us whenever the need be. Being available all the time can drain you mentally at times," she adds.
Debolina Das, an English teacher, says: "A lot more is expected from tutors than from school teachers. Schools can get away with not putting enough effort but the same isn't acceptable when it comes to tutors."
"It has become difficult to conduct classes in moderate/large groups. So I am investing more time in teaching as I have broken the larger groups into smaller ones. The 'time and money' balance is thus getting affected. It's also bizarre that parents often want to attend the classes in their children's stead," she adds.
Preeti, a mathematics tutor, narrated an incident that affected her deeply.
"I was sitting in my living room when I got a message on WhatsApp from a student of class 10. He had sent me the picture of a question paper while taking a school exam, asking me to help him with a sum," Preeti says.
She immediately called his father.
"Turned out, his father knew about it. He urged me to help him, saying it was no big deal, but I told him I follow certain ethics and I cannot help any student during an exam. I have given my best to ensure that they are prepared before for the exams," Preeti says.
"I tried to reason with him, telling him that this would not be the right thing to teach a child. However, he cut the call very rudely. On a call later, he slammed me for my "attitude" and demeaned my profession. I stopped teaching that student thereafter," she adds.
"However, I believe every teacher needs to overcome these challenges and work for the greater good of their students. I am trying my best, each day," Preeti says.
Teachers build students. They are an important part of a child's transformation from a kid to an adult.
For once, let us shift our focus to the tutors and their resilience amid the pandemic.
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