COVID-19 has altered life significantly. Social distancing is now the norm, which has prompted the restriction of activities, including sports, work, and recreation, and trade. Many countries effected lockdowns, which impeded different sectors, especially tourism, teaching, and trade, among others. Countries have had to close learning institutions indefinitely, leading to the loss of teaching jobs and learning time. I have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in various ways. for example, I can no longer use physical learning platforms and I have faced loneliness and bouts of depression due to prolonged periods of being alone. However, there exists various measures, including shifting to online platforms, that I can take to prepare me to strengthen my competency to overcome the challenges in my future career.
One of the main impacts of the pandemic on me is psychological distress. According to a mortality and modality weekly report conducted in June 2020, the number of people suffering from depression has increased four times during the pandemic period (Czeisler et al. 1049). This statistic is unsurprising owing to the mortality of the condition, its ease of contagiousness, and the constant media reports of harrowing experiences with the condition. The mentioned aspects have instilled worry and fear in me over my health. The fear and anxiety have compromised my psychological well-being. While confinement to my home has helped me to avoid infection, the lack of physical contact with my loved ones has caused me loneliness. Talking to them online is not as satisfying as being around them.
Currently, I am learning through classes online. While it is an effective way of reducing physical contact, thus slowing the spread of the virus, online teaching impedes the forming of personal relationships between teachers and students. However, it is important for learning as it helps teachers to understand how best to help students, as well as enables students to seek help from teachers. Therefore, as Sepulveda-Escobar and Morrison mention, the lack of face-to-face teaching makes it difficult for students to learn (1). Indeed, virtual teaching has reduced the efficiency of my learning.
Currently, I am learning to shift to online teaching platforms to ensure that my students continue learning in the event of another pandemic. I am familiarizing myself with various online learning tools like Padlet, Ekstep, Google Docs, Seesaw and Mind Meister, whereby teachers send videos and students can access them at any time. Zoom, Ding Talk, and Ted-Ed are among the best platforms since they allow the teacher and students to share the screen and ideas. I have learnt to embrace all these tools to continue with my teaching. The internet has become a great companion since all the e-learning platforms require stable internet.
Self-discipline and time management Posed a significant challenge to my teaching profession. With the amount of time I spend indoors, it is easy to fall into bad habits like over-eating and idling. With the amount of free time I have, it is possible to be easily distracted. To ensure that I manage my time sufficiently, I decided to set daily goals. Moreover, I must ensure constant communication with my students to ensure that I do not miss out on their progress. I have also learnt to enjoy the flexibility I currently have at my disposal. Moreover, a good diet is important in staying healthy. I have become choosy in the kind of food I consume since it is easy to develop eating disorders during this period.
The world is continually changing due to advances in technology. In the future, education might fully embrace the use of online teaching methods. According to Wijessoriya et al., online teaching can also be used to improve education besides being a mode of coping with the COVID-19 (np). Despite altering my life in various ways, COVID-19 has given me a chance to acquire new skills.
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Czeisler, Mark É., et al. “Mental health, substance use, and suicidal ideation during the COVID-19 pandemic—United States, June 24–30, 2020.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 69.32 (2020): 1049.
Sepulveda-Escobar, Paulina and Astrid Morrison. “Online teaching placement during the COVID-19 pandemic in Chile: challenges and opportunities.” European Journal of Teacher Education (2020): 1-21.