As the first Movement Control Order (MCO) coincided with the school holiday, to many of the school students, it was the most unexpected but most welcomed news as it was going to be a long school holiday. The original one week holiday had then turned into a so-called ‘prolonged’ vacation which lasted until 31 March 2020.
Thus, every single day was filled with joy by watching tv programmes, engrossing in PUBG games, making slimes, getting to bed and waking up late, and many others. The same activities went on again and again like the old record playing the same song all day long.
In ensuring the teaching and learning process continues, the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Muhammad Yassin, has requested the Ministry of Education to implement home-based learning initiatives during the duration of the MCO until schools are safe to be reopened.
Since then, school teachers have started to form online classes using platforms including WhatsApp, Telegram, Google Classroom, Zoom and others. Regardless of which platform they have chosen, the teachers’ main intention is all the same – to support the government’s initiatives, to continue teaching and to always keep track of the progress of their students.
Each day, more and more school notes are posted in the group and homework given to ensure teaching and learning progresses well. Parents are repeatedly reminded not to leave the group as teachers can only communicate with the students through their parents’ phone number.
It was, however, a real heartbreaking seeing some parents leaving the group. “They may have more important business or simply do not want their children to borrow their mobile phones,” according to a netizen.
Only a few students (until this article is written) seem to participate actively by submitting their work, the same students, not even one fifth of the total number of the class. Teachers are seen begging for responses, whilst some even posted on their WhatsApp status expressing their feelings and frustration.
Adjusting to the new normal may not be an easy task but is possible. Teachers have to adapt to new teaching mediums. Many, however, enjoy learning new things such as online teaching, apps, and etc.
Students claimed that it is a bit difficult adjusting to the new normal; i.e. home-based schooling. However, to some it is enjoyable as they are exposed to various online resources such as PowerPoint, YouTube videos, Quizizz and Google Form. Students can feel the closeness and enjoy receiving answers from their teachers about their work entry.
Many parents also look at this from a positive side. They enjoy assisting their children, besides, being able to know the names of the teachers teaching each particular subject. There is always a blessing in disguise.
To all the teachers out there, no matter where they are, we have you in our prayers. Let’s keep fighting this invincible enemy, the COVID-19, together; as united we stand, divided we fall.
Dr. Sazuliana Sanif
Department of English Language and Linguistics
Centre for Language Studies, UTHM