I am Rahmat, 48 years old, a school teacher from Bangladesh expressing my experiences during this pandemic.

When the government imposed a lockdown for the first time, they first closed the schools and other institutions. We were happy to have a vacation. But after a few months, we realized the seriousness of the situation and became worried about our students’ academic life. The government instructed us to start online classes. We tried and failed miserably as we are not up to date with technology and teachers are not competent and trained enough to conduct online classes. As a result, most of the students lost interest in their studies.

The crisis went deeper down when schools started cutting our salaries as students could not pay their fees. As a private school, we teachers depend on private tuition also. I lost most of my students in private tuition. Most of the junior teachers quit their jobs and went back to their villages. The world became narrow for us and our backs were against the wall.

Fast forward to 2021, schools are still closed. Our beloved headmaster died due to COVID-19. As a senior teacher, I didn’t have to leave the town but my savings are close to zero. My brothers now provide support for my family.

This nightmare became worse when I and my whole family got COVID-19 even though my parents and I had taken two doses of the coronavirus vaccine. We started our treatment immediately in our home. It felt like time was moving slowly. We did not have much trouble physically but we were struck with fear and worry for ourselves. But eventually, we overcame our fears and took the situation normally. Our relatives supported us a lot during this time of crisis.

In my opinion, with this huge population and financial condition, countries like Bangladesh cannot follow COVID-19 protocols. People are reluctant to follow any rules. They are more concerned for their livelihood than this virus. The government should ease the ban in educational institutions to make the students’ academic life smoother.

It now feels like a dream of the past when students used to laugh and play in our school. I hope that dream life comes back to me again.