By Vanly Keomuda, Voices of Youth Alumni
It was March 16th that Cambodia announced a nationwide school closure as the cases of the Covid-19 in the country continued to rise. All classes were to be held online until further notice. The announcement came so suddenly that it left little to no time for the students like myself to adapt. The first few weeks of online classes seemed like an experiment – trying to navigate through the “Zoom” function and coping with the gravitational force of the bed. In addition to navigating these challenges, nationwide e-learning also revealed the divide in Cambodia as the country was not ready for digital learning prior to the global pandemic. It was reported that many students, especially poor students, struggled with the lack of access to the internet and required equipment, to engage with online education in general.
However, the immediate switch from physical learning to distance learning is not only challenging for students but teachers as well. In addition to sharing the technological issues that students are facing, teachers also had no time to re-strategise and prepare new pedagogical methods for online teaching. Having a few close friends who are teachers, I have seen them constantly trying to modify their teaching methods so that the online class could still be as interactive as the physical class. They wanted to ensure that their students could keep up and stay focused. Seeing my friends’ hard work, I get to see what it is like for teachers to teach during this uncertain period. Below are a few words that I would like to say to teachers (especially my teachers) that are fighting for their students’ education:
- Thank you, teachers, for your efforts and hard work in making sure that the students could still receive a quality education even during this distance learning period. I know that it is not easy for you to adapt to the changes during the global pandemic. Thank you for staying positive during class. Your optimism has calmed students and been a tremendous help for them to adjust.
- Your students are learning. As teachers, you are constantly worried whether your students can catch up with the lessons, especially during the distance learning era as you cannot physically tell how much your students have absorbed the lessons. Do not worry, teachers, know that you are doing a great job. Your hard work has paid off and continues to yield results. While you are working hard in teaching, your students are studying hard. So, teachers, you can be at ease and continue your hard work.
- Stay Strong: the ongoing COVID-19 situation could be exhausting and challenge you both mentally and physically. Teachers, please remain strong and know that your students are fighting with you to get through the pandemic together. Whenever you have doubts, please remember that your hard work has made progress for your students.
Finally, teachers, you are important. Stay strong, stay positive, and take care of yourself. Because every child deserves to realise their right to education!
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