From Lewd Messages To Parents Video Calling Them, Teachers Are Facing Abuse While Conducting Online Classes. Is This What We’ve Come To?
If the universe had a tagline it would be- here, nothing lasts forever. Which means, the coronavirus has to stop tormenting us some time and crawl back into whatever hole it crawled out of. But there is no absolute certainty of when this could happen. It could be tomorrow, it could be 2 years from now (though by then we will all be dead of boredom). All we do know is that when we were attacked by the virus we had to adapt to this new way of life and we are still adjusting to it.
One of the major changes that took place was that our dependency on technology increased by two-folds. Suddenly our real world has been replaced completely by a virtual one and now, we find ourselves staring at our computer screens all day long. It has been a real struggle since we have been pulled away from our comfort zones and everyone is having a really tough time working and studying from home. But do you know who is having the toughest time (and no, it’s not a competition)- teachers.
Here’s the thing, I used to teach students of class 10 and class 12 and sometimes they and their parents can be, to put it nicely, unruly. Now, imagine having to conduct online classes through mediums like Zoom which means you have no actual control over those kids who are constantly up to something. But you do have parents breathing down your neck. And, according to multiple reports, their main problem is students mercilessly trolling them and miscreants entering the online classroom and sharing obscene photos and videos. You know they say there is nothing more rewarding than being a teacher. Right now, every fibre of their being is being tested.
There are have been more than a few instances of teachers being harassed during online classes by parents, students and of course random strangers. I don’t understand why people don’t live and let live.
#CoronavirusOutbreak | Delhi university teachers claim harassment during web classes
— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) April 13, 2020
In April as online classes across Delhi University began, a few teachers complained about people misusing the online teaching format. Several teachers informed the administration that they were harassed by some of the attendees. An assistant professor in the South campus said that during an online class, a random person logged on and started sending obscene messages through the chat.
The teacher said, “It took us a few minutes to realise what was happening. It was embarrassing for us all. We had to abruptly suspend the class. We later went through the recorded video of the lecture to identify the person and found that there is no student by that name in our class.”
Another professor at an all women’s college in West Delhi reported similar issues and said that outsiders are using the links that are being sent on WhatsApp groups to all the students.
DU executive council (EC) member Rajesh Jha said, “Several women teachers have informed us that they were abused and harassed during these live classes. The teachers send the invites for live sessions on Zoom or Google Meet to their students every day. The students can log in simply by entering their names and email IDs. These incidents clearly indicate that students are sharing these invites with outsiders. Many countries are facing similar issues in conducting online classes.”
Delhi University has said that they are trying their best to fix this problem and that if necessary they might even make police complaints.
Also Read: A School In Karnataka Filed A Complaint With CID After It’s Online Zoom Class Was Hacked To Use Obscene Language. This Is Getting Out Of Hand.
Harassment fears as students post extreme pornography in online lectures https://t.co/Gh8aGFVSyW
— The Guardian (@guardian) April 22, 2020
That was just Delhi, things like this have been happening all over the country. Another instance comes from a school in Lucknow. The teacher had to quit midway when a male student of class 11 started passing lewd comments after she asked him to identify himself.
This was shared on a WhatsApp group that includes teachers and principals. They responded with horrendous incidents of their own. One teacher said that a student of Class 5 started swearing at her when she asked the class to write an essay. Another teacher shared screenshots of how the father of a student texted her and video called her at odd hours. This was backed up by two other teachers who said that they were online stalked by the fathers of two students as well. Ugh, Seriously?!
Teachers are having an extremely hard time keeping everything in control. Even if they are using different mediums to conduct online classes, they are dealing with a huge amount of trolling and harassment.
— TNIE Kerala (@xpresskerala) June 3, 2020
For example, Arooja Denny, an English teacher from Kerala went viral after trolls mercilessly mocked her on social media. On June 1st, schools in Kerala started classes for students via online mediums and the KITE Victers Channel. Arooja was one of the first teachers to lead an online class and she prepared herself for everything except what actually happened.
Her lectures went viral and she was all over social media as the ‘blue sari teacher’. A lot of memes started circulating with photographs of her from the lecture and they began brutally trolling her. Many of the memes had abusive and sexual undertones as well. It got so bad that in one day, there were 48 fan-accounts created for Arooja on Instagram. Though she was oblivious to all this and did not want to indulge or comment, the police and activists were quick to take action.
Also Read: Can We Please Talk About The Obscene Comments On Live Sessions? It’s Disgusting And Women Shouldn’t Be Harassed Like This
When you are a student you don’t realise what is in good fun and where to draw the line. The main objective of students is to make fun of the teacher and make the whole class laugh but somethings are just pushing boundaries. In the past few weeks, social media has been flooded with videos about online classes gone wrong. Those video’s show students smoking, abusing, eating, and logging in with lewd names like Mia Khalifa or Sheila Ki Jawani. Now, this might be funny to the students, but it’s the teacher that is suffering here.
An 11th-grade teacher complained that her students kept kicking her out of the online classes. They even blocked her ID so she could not join back at all. Some teachers are also complaining that students are bullying them by drawing and doodling on their faces on the call or just misbehaving, in general.
For many of India’s teachers, online classes amid lockdown have been an awful experiencehttps://t.co/3x4IDtlwGM
— scroll.in (@scroll_in) May 17, 2020
Here’s the thing though, to no surprise students and outsiders aren’t the only problems teachers are facing. Parents are also breathing down the teacher’s necks to ensure that the classes are running smoothly. For instance, this one teacher complained that parents of students would attend the online classes of their toddler children and stop the class to correct the teacher every time she made a spelling or even a pronunciation error.
Parents are hounding teachers to ensure everything is done and they are getting their money’s worth. And all that hovering and interfering is creating a bigger problem for teachers.
Online classes were started so that this lockdown does not affect the education of students. Now, it has all turned into a crap-fest and a torture chamber for the teachers. Being harassed by students, mocked online, stalked by parents, abused by their own students, teachers are really facing the worst of work from home.