Home-based learning drove home difficulties of teaching remotely
Unused to teaching at home, mathematics teacher Choo Choong Huat recalled pacing around the house, uncertain about how to begin on the first day of home-based learning (HBL).
Lessons that would normally take a few hours to plan took days to prepare.
Mrs Choo, 52, who teaches at Jing Shan Primary School, said the first week of HBL was the most challenging time in her 27 years as a teacher.
She said: "Dealing with technology really exposed my weakness. Despite the preparation, it was difficult to replicate actual classroom teaching for HBL.
"At times, I felt frustrated and lonely, not knowing how to use the online tools at home."
Mrs Choo said she sought help from her colleague to catch up with the basics of online teaching before HBL commenced.
Some senior teachers asked her to teach them how to use these platforms too.
She said: "That was a real wake-up call for me - that we all needed to learn."
While HBL is necessary during this Covid-19 period, she felt it "cannot go on for long as it is hard for online lessons to meet the needs of each student".
For Evergreen Secondary School teacher Priscilia Teng, 44, her challenge was to think of ways to increase homework submission rates.
To encourage students to submit their work, the chemistry and computer applications teacher put up her lessons onto a portal where students could see and "like" their classmates' submissions.
"Students want to see others doing work too, which encourages them to work harder," she said.
Mrs Jayasutha Vijay, 44, from Seng Kang Primary School, had to balance teaching and looking after her Primary 3, Primary 6 and Secondary 2 children.
The Tamil language teacher said: "Tamil language classes are hard to conduct online due to the difficulty of typing Tamil words.
"I set aside one session just to coach students on typing Tamil and how to use Google to type."
On the home front, Mrs Vijay had to whip up meals for her children and check on their learning, especially her daughter who is taking the PSLE this year.
With the school holidays brought forward to May 5, the teachers plan to rest while strengthening their grasp on online learning.
Mrs Choo said: "Teaching won't be the same again. There is so much we can achieve using these apps to take learning to another level."