Right from the time when the government declared an all India lockdown on March 22, 2020, it gave us an excellent opportunity for preparing ourselves for the upcoming academic year of 2020-2021. Having sent all our students safely back home just before the lockdown was put in place and movement restricted, we were already ahead of what best we could do for our students. Right after the month of March ended, our teachers were set to continue their online classes for the Grade 10 students to complete some part of their syllabus. All the Grade 10 teachers took this as an opportunity to learn a new system of imparting knowledge using the Information Technology medium available. The opportunity of "learning to teach". With the help of our Computer Department personnel and the Sr. Supervisor, the teachers were set for the online classes to be conducted using Google Classroom. Setting a wonderful example of how the Internet and applications available can make life so different and helpful. The Grade 10 classes went on tremendously well. This was later absorbed and well used by all our teachers. The online classes for Grade 10 were conducted until April 30, 2020. Thereafter the teachers were given a break before they would have to commence the online classes for the entire school, from Grades 3 to 12 starting June 2, 2020. Having said that, this was all together, roller coasters ride for our teachers, as all these years of their teaching life, the blackboard was their instrument to teach the young students. But that's what we do at Peter's. We live up to our motto which is “Ut Prosim” meaning “That I May Serve”.
Not knowing when the government would allow the schools to reopen again, We at Peter's were all set to follow our annual fixture and have things conducted online for our students as best as we could.
The month of May ‘20 gave us enough time to test all our systems, materials, and processes which we would share with the parents and use with our students. A special home routine was prepared by the Sr. Supervisor for all the students to follow during the online classes at home. This would enable them to get into the habit of following a routine which they do when they are in school. This routine was a new introduction to our Day-Scholar students as it would be as, from the time they would wake up to the time they could hit the bed, would be a little different than what they usually follow.
The school office gave their unstinted support to the academic staff by sharing all the necessary information required for the online classes with the parents on a time-to-time basis.
Grade-wise Google drive folders were prepared; these consisted of PDF copies of textbooks for all subjects, online class time-table, home routine, and the annual school fixture. Later, these links were shared with all the parents & students for their access and use respectively as per their grade & division.
Not only this but for further communication between teachers and parents, WhatsApp Groups were created from grades 3 to 12 individually. Every day, right after the lectures, teachers would share videos and documents for easy use and better understanding for students, who could refer to these postings. While other teachers would upload study material online in the classroom and make use of them while they would conduct the classes by sharing their screens.
June 2, 2020, the first day when the whole setup went online, for the first two lectures both our students and teachers found it a bit difficult to follow the instruction and have the classes on time, the next day was even worse as the cyclone “Nisarga” hit us badly disrupting the electricity supply and internet connectivity for the next two days. From June 5th things settled down and the lecture pattern got much better and went off smoothly.
Now we are almost completing the second term of online classes and things seem to be moving smoothly and as planned. Students and Teachers are having their daily classes well and good. But in all of this, the physical presence of our students is what we as staff of Peter’s is missing very badly on campus.
As and when this pandemic would come to an end and we don't know when, the only thing we aim is to provide good education to our students as always, by using new means that are available now, thanks to the pandemic. These new methodologies are not a problem anymore but another opportunity to stretch ourselves in learning and using it to impart education thus making a difference to the lives of our kids who we have with us at Peter's. This takes us back to our motto:
"Ut Prosim" - That I May Serve.