Q: How does it feel to be back in class?
A: It is really wonderful to be back in class and see everyone at the foundation again, both the staff and the students. In class, we can see each other’s faces and I can better assist the students when they start to show facial expressions which indicate that they feel lost or they do not fully understand the lesson. I enjoy this face-to-face communication the most when teaching in class. Now, I have a larger class which is very exciting and I get to meet many new students. We have been back for three lessons now and it has been very enjoyable. I hope the students feel the same!
Q: What are some of the challenges you face in teaching during a pandemic?
A: During the partial lockdown, I was delighted to see that the students were also very enthusiastic to participate in the class even though it was conducted online which was new for everyone. The main challenge was the varying internet connection speeds. Not everyone was able to turn on their camera for video conferencing. As a result, the class was conducted mainly in audio and I wasn’t able to see the students’ faces and gauge if everyone was able to follow the lesson. It was also a challenge to help the students with spelling and writing, but we were able to overcome this by sending text messages in the group if needed. Also, when we were using only audio, background noise disturbances from cars, TV, dogs barking, and people chatting were a bit of a distraction while the lesson was ongoing.
Q: Is there something you’re doing differently to better engage your students during a lesson?
A: I try to ask more questions and bring in exercises, questions, or activities from external sources to engage with the students. I try to ask the students to memorise vocabularies and close the book in order to test them on their vocabulary and spelling. I invite the students to come up to the white board to write sentences with the help of their classmates, so everyone participates and encourages each another. Other than this, I shall look into more games and activities which I can bring into class to entertain the students a little bit more. Sometimes it can be hard for the students to concentrate as my class is in the afternoon and many of them will have had a long day before coming to the foundation.
Q: How would you describe their level of enthusiasm compared with before?
A: I feel that they are always enthusiastic both before the pandemic and now that we are back in class. The students always engage in exercises or activities as requested and they will give their best shot. It is undeniable that after the pandemic some students are unable to continue their lesson at the foundation due to personal reasons, or some may encounter personal issues which affect their ability to concentrate. However, the ones that are still present, to me, look like they are still trying to do their best. I do miss the students who are unable to continue and I hope they will come back. I wish for all students who are facing problems right now to be able to overcome all obstacles very soon.