Teacher of the Year: This Math Tutor is Taking Online Classes from His Isolation Ward


Teacher of the Year: This Math Tutor is Taking Online Classes from His Isolation Ward

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

The pandemic has now forced people to quickly adapt to the “new normal” and while most of us struggle to cope, some have taken this crisis in their stride. An unusual coronavirus hero is a Covid-19 patient from Ladakh.

Being tested positive for coronavirus has not deterred this Mathematics teacher from going about his business. Kifayat Hussain is treating life as a learning curve, as he continues to teach his students while being quarantined, turning his isolation ward at Mahakaruna Charitable Hospital in Leh district into a classroom. Like schools around the world which have started online classes, Hussain too relies on communication tools like Zoom App and YouTube to engage with his students, to make sure they don’t suffer academically because of his poor health.

“Teaching is not just my job, but my passion,” the teacher to Class 9 and 10 students told Hindustan Times. “I was concerned that students will be left behind in their studies and it will be a burden for them if I cover the syllabus in a hurry in future. I had enough strength to teach so I thought I should give it a try.”

Due to issues of poor internet connectivity at the hospital, the teacher also pre-records around two video lessons on his YouTube channel while conducting daily classes via Zoom between 2 pm to 3 pm. Hussain credits the school principal and the Ladakh administration for their cooperation for granting him permission to conduct online classes from the hospital and for readily providing him with important resources like digital boards and pens to aid his teachings. He has also expressed his gratitude towards the warm and approachable medical staff who continue to look after him.

Although Hussain’s village was declared a containment zone weeks ago after a few people were found positive for coronavirus, the teacher had already adapted to online classes by then. Moving into the isolation ward on May 4 after he himself tested positive for the virus hasn’t been much different from his routine in the past weeks, except for the change in location and daily check-ups. While Hussain showed no symptoms, his concerns of not wanting to risk the lives of his students amid the pandemic made him visit a local hospital on April 30.

Hussain’s determination and willingness to put the life and future of his students before his own has been an inspiration during these grim times.

At a time when much uncertainty surrounds us, people like Kifayat Hussain, whose spirit lifts up our very hopes, are an example to lead by.

Can we declare him the “Teacher of the Year” already?