It goes entirely without saying that we all know from our own experiences over the last two years what an unprecedented and turbulent time we have been living in. With the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic meaning various limitations to our lives have been necessary, and teaching itself is no exception. While airports, borders, hospitals, workers, and offices all over the planet have been finding new innovative ways to cope with this sudden change, the way we teach and learn has also had to adapt. With schools often being closed to limit the spread of the virus, and teachers and students needing to work from home, let’s look at a few of the reasons why online teaching is in-demand thanks to the pandemic.
First of all, we surely all remember the sudden and baffling changes in every nation’s border enforcement, foreign policy, and the regulations allowing us to travel between different countries. The effect this had was that unfortunately, many people got suddenly and unexpectedly stranded or separated from their colleagues, hometowns, and loved ones. Many teachers fell into this category too, creating a sudden challenge to solve in order to make sure the education of future generations did not suffer too much.
New ways of working
This meant an agile switch in the way lessons were taught was necessary, with some teachers even having to quickly find new jobs and new formats for educating people altogether. Although it was without question one of the biggest challenges for modern teachers to overcome, these brave people often took it as an opportunity to find jobs teaching English all over the world! This meant that suddenly, thanks to the power of technology and the internet, the whole world’s population of teachers and tutors could for the first time access remote teaching in a way that was only just beginning to become apparent before the pandemic. Education markets using foreign teachers located in other countries was a burgeoning industry in China, but most other teachers with jobs in ‘bricks and mortar’ schools had never even heard of this as a possibility.
More tutors, more choice!
To look at the positives, many families could see the pandemic as an opportunity for their kids to gain access to a wider variety of teachers and tutors from all over their countries and even all over the entire world! This meant that their children suddenly had access to a wider variety of topics and teachers, meaning they could take up new and exciting subjects. From languages to music, maths to humanities, if families wanted greater support for their children’s academic success, needing a local teacher became a problem of the past.
Looking after our health
We can’t forget the need to stay safe as the uncertainty of the pandemic unfolded. People didn’t know at the beginning how Covid could affect us, and obviously, with classrooms being filled with people who could have been carrying the virus, having so many teachers and children altogether in one location became a key concern around the spread of the Covis-19 virus. Teachers had to cope with a wide and daunting range of new issues, including the wearing of face coverings, long term, and short term absences, hand sanitizing, getting used to teaching online where before they had only taught in classrooms, and separating students, classes and entire year groups into their own little social ‘bubbles’. The range of new factors teachers had to manage was astounding, and we can all be grateful for the fact they did an incredible job of dealing with the new challenges.
Finally, with children being asked to learn at home, the gap in wealth and access to resources became painfully clear. Many children and their families did not have the equipment needed to learn from home, such as internet access and tablets, or basic things like pens, paper, and even in some terrible cases, food. Thankfully, some schools around the world were able to use the funding to support their students, acting as community hubs to support families in need. By helping them to access learning via the internet, and sending tablets and resources home for children to use, the real power of online teaching throughout the pandemic could be utilized to ensure that even in tough times, children could still learn successfully.