By Lakhram Bhagirat
The global coronavirus pandemic has forced teachers to rethink their strategies and methods of delivering education. It has led them down the path of technology which was foreign to many but in the process of learning, they have been teaching.
Krishna Kumar has been in the teaching profession for over a decade, and while he is still fairly young in the profession, he has witnessed a complete evolution of their delivery methods.
“Over the years I must say that teaching or rather, the method of delivery, changed. One thing teachers must remember is that education is not stagnant, there is always new methods of doing things, new ways of getting the students engaged in the classroom, new methods of assessing the students.
“In this pandemic, I had to find creative ways to engage my students. I have been recording videos with the explanation and examples and uploading same to YouTube. I have also shared the link to my videos on my social media account so that other students could get access to same,” the young teacher said.
Kumar hails from Bounty Hall on the Essequibo Coast and for him, his childhood was among the best days. He grew up like every other child from the country with constant fishing trips in the backdam and going by the seawall hunting for fruits.
He attended the Better Hope Primary School and was later transferred to CV Nunes Primary in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) where he completed his primary education. After sitting the Secondary School Entrance Examination (SSEE) he was placed at the Anna Regina Multilateral.
“My school life was a quiet one. I was quiet and spent most of my time in class rather than mixing with my peers. I had a few friends during my time in high school,” he noted.
After completing secondary school in 2006, he applied to the University of Guyana (UG) to pursue studies in Business Management but was not accepted to the programme. After not being able to further his studies at the University, he enrolled at the Essequibo Technical Institute (ETI) where he did a Diploma in Computer Science and two evening courses in Public Management and Business Studies.
During his time at ETI, he realised that not being accepted into UG was a good thing because he later developed a love for technology and mathematics. After he completed ETI, he moved to Georgetown to work as an Audit Clerk with National Hardware but that lasted for just 6 months before he moved back to Essequibo.
When he returned home, he immediately began hunting for jobs and one day his father came home and told him he was advised to inform him about joining the teaching profession.
“At the time I didn’t want to (join the teaching profession), but after joining the profession in 2009, I can assure you that the satisfaction of knowing that I helped some to achieve their goals is very rewarding,” he said.
Kumar registered and started classes at the Cyril Potter College of Education in 2010 and had to move to Georgetown once again. He was part of the first set of Associate Degree in Education students at the CPCE and completed his education there in 2012.
He majored in mathematics and minored in science. After CPCE, he moved over to the University of Guyana where he read for his Bachelor’s Degree in Education – Mathematics. He completed the programme in 2015 and then in 2016 he re-enrolled at UG to pursue his Master’s in Education – Measurement and Evaluation. He is currently working to complete the programme.
During his teaching career, Kumar has worked at 8th of May Secondary School in Region Two, St Winefride’s Secondary School and now he is a part of the staff at the La Bonne Intention Secondary School.
While he has his plate full with teaching, records and his studies, Kumar joined the Sophia CSEC Night School in 2016. There he teaches mathematics to adults in an effort to ensure that they have that second chance at securing passes at the CSEC examinations in order to achieve their goals.
The Sophia Night School started in 2016 under the Ministry of the Presidency – Youth Empowerment Unit. It caters for students who want to re-sit exams but cannot afford the cost for private lessons, those students who dropped out of school and want that second chance.
“I started (the Sophia Night School) in 2016 after applying to be a part-time teacher. Some of the challenges faced are students usually have a hard time grasping and getting back into gear with school work since they have not been in a classroom for a while. Some students have challenges with work and family and trying to fit school into their already hectic lives. In addition to that, we usually have challenges with materials such as furniture and textbooks for students. While some can afford the texts, there are some who can’t,” he said.
For the years that he has been working at the Night School, students have always had a problem with mathematics and grasping the concepts. At times they would usually opt to drop out but he has been doing his best to ensure that those students stay and take on the challenge.
He would encourage his students to take the time to grasp the concepts and if they cannot complete it in the two years, then they would take additional time to ensure they are ready.
The results from the Night School have been synonymous with the percentage pass of the country. The reason for this is after students register for an exam, their attendance would usually drop and as such the time that revision is being done, they are usually not in class.
“Teaching was never one of my career choice while growing up, I always wanted to be a manager or an accountant but I must say that since I joined the profession in 2009, 11 years ago, I am happy to know that every day when I turn up to work, my duty there is to help students and young people on their journey to achieve their goals in life. The joy of seeing them after school having a job or attending tertiary institutions is overwhelming.”
He advised future teachers to remember that their duty is to enable students to be creative and expressive during their school lives.