Labour Day: Malaysian teachers forced to adapt to conducting online classes

George, a private school teacher in Kuala Lumpur, uses online resources to enhance her e-classes. Photo: Joshua Lim

To mark Labour Day, StarLifestyle is highlighting the stories of workers from various sectors who have found ways to cope with the challenges of the pandemic and share their hopes and fears in these difficult times.

As a private school teacher in Kuala Lumpur, Claire George is grateful that she still has a job during these trying times.

“I feel secure and blessed to have a job. I never thought of losing my job. However I do feel for others, especially friends, who have lost their jobs because of the MCO, ” shares the 41-year-old Sabahan.

Like many other teachers, George has adapted to the current circumstances and has been conducting online classes for her students.

“The teachers were unprepared at first, but we forced ourselves to learn fast. Thank God, it did not take us too long to get things done, ” says the mother of two.

George teaches English and Art to students in Years 4 to 6. Lessons have been conducted via Google classroom. The teachers are also exploring a few websites that provide worksheets or videos online.

“In the beginning, I needed around three to four hours to prepare for a lesson, but after I had the hang of it, I only spent around one to two hours, ” she says, adding that YouTube helps a lot with her Art lessons. Besides conducting six hours of classes per week, George also checks her students’ work after classes.

“I can’t be 100% sure that they are attentive but I think most of the students are attending classes on time and doing their work. However, I realise that after a while, some of them are not very excited about the online classes.

“We can’t play physical games of the lessons learnt, and I can’t see my students’ reaction or feedback the way I can in a normal classroom setting, ” she adds.

The MCO has led George to reflect on her role as a teacher and on the future of teaching.

“I’m always supportive of using technology to learn because there’s no end to it, but during this MCO period, I have learnt more ways to conduct my lessons online, and am able to see that learning is still wonderful despite it being virtual, ” she adds.

“Learning, grading and marking has become more efficient too because we store and keep the data in Google drive.

“Moving forward, I feel that teachers will definitely be more equipped technology-wise as they continue to carry out their duties.”

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