I am Joyce B., a teacher by occupation and honestly, I am indeed humbled to have the opportunity to share my voice on this amazing project. To start with, COVID-19 has actually dealt a major negative economical impact in my country. In addition, the health and education systems have faced a similar impact that I, personally, have had to fight with and adapt to like other people during these very stressful times. I wish to highlight more on how major changes have impacted the education system.

COVID-19 has had a huge negative impact on the education system in my country and it is something that will take some time to recover from. The closure of schools resulted in a period of inactivity for most of the children as they disengaged from books or any school-related work. Most parents were busy focused on providing for their families during the pandemic’s instability, and it was, therefore, impossible for them to home school the children. It is of a rough estimate that for about six months or so, most of the young ones went without having any form of school-related education.

Fortunately, well-thought initiatives were made, using various internet platforms such as ZOOM meetings to teach. However, this saw challenges as soon as the ideas were proposed because many areas of the country don’t access the internet and most parents could not connect to those platforms either because of the device they had or the financial burden they faced.

As a teacher and parent, I felt sad that most children had to experience that. What would hurt me the most is seeing some kids roaming the streets with friends and with absolutely no regard to social distancing and the prevention of COVID-19. I could not blame them, because there was literally no one to teach the children. After all, we, the teachers, were at home and some parents thought COVID-19 was a hoax. I know as a teacher I have great influence in guiding the kids’ path to achieving their dreams. So it was very depressing for me to see some children even university students face this.

After a long wait for many months, the schools re-opened. It was something I was looking forward to and I wanted to impart some positive changes in the young minds, however, a new challenge arose. I had to make sure that my pupils were following the COVID-19 guidelines. It is easy to tell a grown-up why there should have social distance and wear a mask but with primary kids, it is a different story. To them, I didn’t want them playing with their friends. Speaking of those times, I had some funny moments: I remember explaining to the grade sevens (the primary level) why it is important not to overcrowd but to my dismay soon after break time, they huddled like a football team before a match and I as walked towards them, they all ran away in the same direction. They thought I would chase them!

It has been hard to adapt to these changes, however, I always aim to do my best and as a parent, I have been patient with my pupils and I always make them my priority over anything else, to ensure I guide and protect them. I understand that making rapid changes to new situations is not always easy. Despite these hard times, I enjoy my work and I love to help children reach their potential. Thank you.