Teaching beyond boundaries

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Conducting online maths class

Dateline Dehradun: At end of January 2020, Rakesh Gusain returned to Dehradun from Shanghai, China. A month long winter break from work where Rakesh Gusain has been working as a Mathematic teacher for A-level at a Centre run by Cambridge Assessment International Education, UK, Programme.

On the 24th of February, Rakesh Gusain was all set return to work in Shanghai, which has been his home away from home for the past six years. But then all hell broke loose. The Covid-19 pandemic jumped international boundaries. The Chinese government, understandably suspended visas, international flights came to a shuddering halt. Henceforth lockdown was to become the new way of life across the globe.

For the last few weeks, making most of what time and technology has to offer, Rakesh has been conducting online classes for his students between fourteen to eighteen years of age. Given the two and half hour time lag, Rakesh conducts classes for two batches of over twenty students each, in two shifts. “One class begins at 7:30 IST and the other at 12:30 IST.” Adding, “but I do miss our regular classes the most, though some of them are brilliant and proactive in class, they miss that spark in them while interacting online. Also language is a barrier which when we have classes one-on-one is not much of an issue.”

Adding, “The CAIE has cancelled May/June 2020 series exams across the globe due to the outbreak of the epidemic and now they are working on how to provide grades to registered students based on the predicted grade and necessary evidences that the Centers will provide.

Like everyone, everywhere, Rakesh too is hanging on to the fond hope that life will return to normal. That this air of doom will lift. And he will be able to take his flight back to Shanghai to be with his students.

I am afraid, until then, like all other teachers across the world, technology will have to suffice.