A teacher using a refrigerator tray to teach online
A teacher using a refrigerator tray to teach online3 mins 235 3 mins 235
A story inspired by real-life events: A teacher using a refrigerator tray to teach online
In March 2020, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic brought life to a standstill across the world, with many schools closing down.
Teachers had to adjust their teaching techniques for classes that now took place online on devices such as phones, laptops, and desktops. All the teachers were merely trying their best given the situation and making the most out of the little technology they had access to.
Mathematics as a subject posed a special challenge in this situation. It is one of those subjects that cannot be taught by just providing notes or through oral explanation. Teaching mathematics essentially involves arriving at a solution to a given problem while discussing detailed steps. For this, a blackboard had always been an important tool. However, using a simple device such as a mobile phone to take an online class does not provide such any such facility.
A primary teacher in Mumbai while teaching mathematics to her students realized that her students were not able to understand even the basic mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, etc as she was delivering her lessons only orally on phone.
During one of her online classes, a student told her “Mam I only understand the first step when you teach multiplication by a two-digit number, but then I am not able to grasp further.
The teacher asked him “What should I do to make you understand it better?”
The student replied “Mam, it would be great if you could show us each step gradually like you used to do on the blackboard in school”.
This is when the teacher felt the need for a board to teach her students so that they can see what she wrote while speaking. Amid the lockdown, she started looking for a transparent material in her house. She tried many options before settling in on a refrigerator tray.
The teacher used a transparent tray from the refrigerator as a mobile stand to conduct classes online. She supported the tray by keeping it on top of two containers, which she kept on either side of the stand. Under her makeshift stand, she wrote and solved mathematical problems on the paper lying right below. This simple yet genius hack helped the teacher to solve the questions and teach students with ease. The refrigerator tray made it easy for her to broadcast notes to the students as she wrote.
She could now speak on the phone and use its camera to show what she is writing on the paper. She could record/stream live for her little viewers each step in solving mathematical questions
Her students were now very happy. The teacher could not be physically present in the same space as her students but her innovative thinking made her reach out to them in the desired manner
One of them said, “It’s a wonderful technique mam. Now you can solve and explain the problems at the same time. We are able to understand each problem much better”.
Another one commented, “Mam your creativity and dedication has inspired us all.”
Few others shouted excitedly “Excellent initiative dear mam...No doubt, where there is a will, there is a way...!”
The teacher felt very satisfied and said “I am doing it only for you my dear students”.
The photo of this Mumbai-based teacher using a refrigerator tray to conduct a virtual class was widely shared on social media as an example of how educators have been forced to come up with innovations due to the pandemic and she received a lot of praise for her efforts and resourcefulness at finding a creative solution to a challenging situation.