Kool Kanya News / Speaking Out

Teachers Are Being Trolled During Online Classes

. 4 min read . Written by Sanjana Bhagwat
Teachers Are Being Trolled During Online Classes

As schools and colleges commence another academic year, teachers are suddenly having to learn how to conduct online classes, in addition to cyberbullying during classes, insubordinate students, longer working hours, and low pay.

The BMC released a set of guidelines on August 20th to make online classes more student friendly. The guidelines include such things as asking the teachers to speak clearly, avoid complex sentences, avoid answering phone calls during classes, and ensuring the students feel at ease.

However, online classes are a two-way process – one that has failed to be teacher-friendly. They are posing immense pressures and struggles for teachers.

Embarrassing And Disrespecting Teachers Has Become A “Funny” Viral Trend

One of the BMC guidelines released states that the teachers should use interactive technological tools to hold the students’ attention. “In the beginning, they should conduct mock classes and try to use interactive tools like PowerPoint, animation, video clips, etc., to make lessons more interesting. They should use proper intonation, exclamation, pauses, and interrogation while speaking,” the guideline says.

The pressure is being put on teachers to manage a class remotely, find uncharted ways of making their class interesting, and holding the students’ focus. They are being asked to operate with technology in a way that many are likely to never have before, leading to them struggling during the online lectures.

On top of this, from videos of online class “fails”, memes, and parodies, embarrassing teachers online has become a viral trend. A quick search on YouTube throws up a barrage of videos of teachers being harassed, abused, and disrespected during online classes.

Some students have become infamous enough among these circles for their insolent displays, that other students are asking them to join and disrupt their online classes as well.

The Quint recently reported a teacher’s experience teaching 11th grade students, when a student with an anonymous username, shared their screen on the Zoom video call. The teacher was completely shocked when a porn video started playing on screen, visible to all the other students as well. Feeling helpless she just “ended the online class in a hurry”.

“Students create Zoom IDs in random, unidentifiable names and troll teachers. Some switch off their camera and call teachers names from these IDs, some use them to send memes to teachers,” says Nabamallika Bhagabati, a teacher at a private school in Delhi. “There is no way of finding out who the student is during the Zoom call, so we have to ignore all the bullying and concentrate on teaching.”

Some professors have reported students hurling inappropriate abuses, threats of rape and violence.  Others have faced constant disruptions with students kicking the teacher out of the online class every few minutes, talking disrespectfully about the teacher in the public chat feature, and doodling on the live-stream tab.  

As students become bolder and more vicious, in an attempt to both disrespect and garner more views online, the teaching situation has turned into a traumatic one for most teachers.

Taking Online Classes For Students Without Technological Devices Or Internet Is Difficult

A major issue for teachers in government schools is reaching out to students who do not have the basic facilities required for an online class like smartphones, laptops, and good internet. Technology is a major hurdle for students from low income groups.

A Delhi government school teacher says they are also required to give weekly homework, that the students are to finish on a day-to-day basis. While students with smartphones are sent the homework worksheets on WhatsApp, the teachers need to call and relay the homework to students who do not have smartphones.

“I make a lot of calls every evening to check with students who do not have smartphones, some people receive calls, some don’t,” she added. “Some parents have even given wrong numbers to the school, so it becomes very difficult to follow up.”

Other concerns include uncooperative and argumentative parents who sit in on the lectures. Having parents around can be helpful with younger children who, teachers say, “run away” during the classes or fall asleep. However, many disrupt the classes by feeling entitled to question the teaching methods during classes.

The issue is no longer just about maintaining decorum or respecting authority figures, but about teachers being anonymously harassed and disrespected to the point that taking online classes may not be possible for them.

The problem isn’t technology and the solution is not to do away with online classes, but to make the transition comfortable and rewarding for the teachers as well. The teachers need greater support from the school authorities, and less pressure around ensuring the children a good education during these trying times. There needs to be greater cyber-awareness among students and guidelines set to make online classes as teacher-friendly as they are student-friendly.

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