Pandemic - Paralysis, Performance, & Progress - the voice of Maaria Kashif

31.08.21 01:08 PM By Voice of Future Generations

Pandemic - Paralysis, Performance, & Progress

This past year has been a roller coaster to say the least. As an educator of English Language Arts and Science to Middle School students my challenges were awaiting me in and out of the classroom. I can happily say I am a 21st century teacher, one who knows the loops of an “online interactive” teaching platform- but was this enough to keep up with these middle schoolers…. No comment! The misconception- “working or studying from home”- was initially interpreted as things are going to be easier, but were they? Not at all. Longer planning time, longer working hours, balancing house life with work life. No human interaction due to the pandemic. The anxiety of not knowing when we would next meet family, friends, coworkers, students, and teachers. This was the phase that felt like paralysis. The constant what, how, why, when, where questions and not having the answers available.


  When it started, I would constantly ask myself a question, “Are they the only ones learning in this pandemic? Will they grasp the concepts I teach them in the manner I want them too? How will I help the one’s that need extra help with this BARRIER of the screen?”, and almost all of the time I would respond knowing that I learned from these students daily too, that we managed to schedule extra sessions when and where needed, that I wasn’t alone in this constant struggle, and they were feeling the same. Education is evolving and so is technology, therefore some wanted, and some unwanted changes are playing a role in all of this. Your confidence and motivation are important but the bond, relationship and care you have for your students pulls you through. For me this began the phase of performance. I had moved out of the paralysis phase and started to witness them and myself perform.


  There were times in online lessons, I would be shocked to see the motivation of my students, not towards just the lesson, but just the fact that they were attending my lesson. They would ask me to keep sessions running after class time or allow them into extra zoom sessions after school hours just so they could revise a concept, spend some time with me and other students online or even help peers. This Pandemic taught me one thing very clearly, the love and passion you invest into your lesson and students comes back to you. The students can feel it and if you value the bond you have with them, they not only love you, but enjoy learning your subject just as much. We explored how to help them become more independent, which resources cater to which learning styles, what motivates their wellbeing, what feeds their brain and their emotions and even though they were on the other side of the screen, and I craved that physical set up in the classroom, they never made me crave their virtual presence. This all wrapped up and gave me my desired and expected results and the progress that I wished for them to meet and exceed.


Voice of Maaria Kashif

Maaria Kashif has been a teacher for 12 years. She teaches because she loves kids. The passion of her mentors, colleagues, and the love from her students have made her fall in love with her profession. Teaching has taught her patience, acceptance, tolerance, and compassion. Becoming a teacher has been a fulfilling decision and the journey has given her memories and lessons for a lifetime.