信件主旨：《From 2020 MCO to 2021 RMCO》
寄件人： Teacher Wilson Ho
Waking up early in the morning, packing my slices of bread, rushing to the school with my girl were no longer daily routines to me since the first MCO kicked off on 18th March last year. The powerful COVID-19 hits globally and all sectors are affected including us in the education field. All educational institutions, including schools, colleges, universities and kindergartens nationwide were required to close temporary during the first wave of the pandemic. For us, teachers and school students have to accept the transformation from conventional schooling to digital home-based learning or rather known as ‘e-learning’.
With the implementation of online teaching, my worries had doubled up, not only on the scary virus but also on my limited IT skills that may not allow me to carry out my task effectively. Thinking that the MCO may not remain long at first, I was trying to stay calm initially and I kept on reminding myself not to worry too much but just to browse from the relevant websites and extract any useful materials from my best helper and tutor, YouTube and let my students watch. That is all I plan to contribute!
However, when MCO went on further, it wasn’t as simple as I though. I noticed my other colleagues were talking about making their own materials for their lessons. My girl had shown me her teachers’ impressive videos and she told me that no one would keen to take a look at it if I just took from other resources. Well, she had highlighted to me an important message that I should consider from the point of view of a student. My strategy changed when she inspired me to make a move. I started to tell myself I wanted to do something different. I desperately asked around, especially some of our ex-students whom I know are good at this, hoping to get some tips from them on making my teaching aids. By chance, one day the principal’s secretary shared something in the ‘2020 All Staff ‘group about transferring ppt from laptop to handphone for sound recording. I tried the idea and eventually I had the very first teaching video of mine with my own voice.
I was glad that something different was coming on the way to my teachings. Excitement continued when a couple of days later, I had learned how to insert music to the recorded video all by myself after a few failing attempts as the background music was louder than my voice…., ha-ha! It was hilarious! I was on cloud nine again for the added value on my product. Not bad ah…! MCO has forced me to brush up my IT skills. May be to others this is just a piece of cake or a small discovery. But to me, it is like the moment of a sudden unexpected discovery that I have not keen to find out all this while could make me excited for many days because of the contentment.
Things changed again when we were told to go online live teaching. Many of us were worried about facing the camera. Of course, at first it was conducted in a mess and with many obstacles. However, as we went on slowly, we were able to overcome it and handle it well. I would like to thank those teachers for influencing me to try out Google Meet at the earlier stage (Initially it wasn’t compulsory as we could go offline but it has already become a must for us now). I still remember at that time, there was this thing called ‘consultation time’ on weekly basis. I prefer to call it as ‘tutorial time’ instead of ‘consultation time’ as to me the term ‘consultation’ sounds too professional which I think I haven’t reached up to that stage. I had taken the initiative to extend my subjects consultation times from a very minimum number to more sessions once I had familiarised with the Meet. Now I can recall I ever asked my students to turn on all their mics at the same time and it ended up with massive audio feedback but I still carried on talking. They might have laughed at me humorously at that time, I supposed.
Another round of lockdown recurs this year in 2021 until now. From last year MCO to this year CMCO then RMCO, the feeling is like riding a roller coaster, going up and down. Though we had gone through this scenario before last year, I wouldn’t deny that I still have some kind of worries and I wonder if students can pick up this learning approach effectively or would they be discouraged towards learning if it goes on for long run? I myself could hardly believe students would sit in front of computer and listen to teachers for 7 hours or more in a day if they don’t have self-discipline. Hence, teachers play an extremely important role in guiding them with the right attitude and giving them a lot of motivations so as they won’t be losing interest in learning. Most importantly, excessive teaching should be minimised moderately. My dear boys and girls, you can pick up learning again as long as you are willing! Not too early to surrender, there is no harm for keep on trying even there are failures along the way. It is fine If you can’t be one of the brilliant stars in studies but at least you have put in effort to try.
I am grateful as our tasks are considered being carried out smoothly so far. Knowing that online teaching will be last for a slightly longer period or it will be going on and off, there is no point to show any strong dislike. I have no choice but to change the perception from resisting to accepting though it is tough and heavy to all of us, the front liners. Now, I have much get used to that ‘click’ at the meet link and can conduct lessons comfortably than before. Interaction with students can still exist if the right approaches are being applied. I am thankful to have wonderful workmates around me who are willing to grant helping hands on the technical parts whenever I am in need of assistance throughout this pandemic period. Let us pray that the pandemic situation will turn better soon and all of us will back to normal life. By the way, that ‘magical’ pen, I mean the pen tablet is amazing! It helps us a lot in lessening our workload burden. (Haha.., promoting the product!)