By Dhitta Puti Sarasvati
OPINION-IT is a tough time for anyone working in the education sector these days. The Covid-19 pandemic certainly affects education in so many ways. Teachers are also affected by it. Some say, that it is the time for teachers to reflect and try new things.
Learning from home has pushed teachers to try new things, for example, to use technology to ensure that the learning happens. New innovations happen during the pandemic. I myself have tried new things too. I invited a high school teacher from Maluku to share with my students in Jakarta.
If he had to take the plane, it would take 8 hours from Maluku to go to Jakarta. But because of the pandemic, we decided to use google meet instead.
Last semester, my class was supposed to create a face-to-face exhibition to show their work during the “Teaching & Learning Mathematics” Course. It was impossible. Therefore, my students created a website instead. We had a simple online launching, and people came to learn about the students’ work through an online discussion.
I never made videos for teaching, but finally, I did. I made short videos on youtube for middle school students about integers. I didn’t make many videos. I was just experimenting. However, I sent the videos to my teacher friend in Bandung who sent them to her teacher friends who sent them to their students.
In my own classroom, I collaborated with a partner to do asynchronous learning. In turns, we made videos for teaching and provided other materials for independent learning. Our class was twice a week.
But once a week, students had to do independent study. They may watch the videos we made, read, and do some exercises. After that, they can discuss any difficulties they find.
Rizal Ramli and his daughter Dhitta Puti Sarasvati
In another classroom, my students learned about the mathematics curriculum. We compared various mathematics curriculum from different countries. They made a podcast talking about what they learned. Then we also learned about understanding by design together.
As a group, we created a design for a unit. Everybody participated in giving ideas, criticizing each other, and so on. Before the end of the semester, we learned about design thinking a little bit and interviewed teachers and students to learn about their context.
I, as an educator, was able to try and do as during the pandemic but that was only possible because I had the support that enabled me to do all the things. The institution where I worked supported their educators with the infrastructure to enable us to teach online.
They provided us with gadgets, the internet, the LMS, access to consult and share ideas, and much more that made it easier to make these innovations.
Besides the hardware, there was also the culture that made me find ideas more easily. My peers are enthusiastic learners and never stingy in sharing what they know and what they can do.
I feel safe asking for help anytime and now that there is always someone on my back to support me.
In reality, the privilege that I have is very special and I know, many educators, especially in the Indonesian context to not have the support that I have. Some are struggling and clueless.
A teacher text me and told me her students were missing. They never showed up for any online classes. Other cases are cases of teachers teaching children whose parents are migrant workers.
The students don’t have gadgets, their parents are not around (because they work outside of the country). I do believe that these teachers do want to provide the best education they can give to their students. But it is hard.
They struggle, they really do. I can imagine how difficult it may be for them. Teachers like this need support both in terms of infrastructure and in terms of a supporting system. Do we know the answers on how to support them yet? Maybe not. But let us find out together.