It’s like facing 10,000 people when you have a camera pointed at you.” a well experienced man tells me as I wait for my turn to record a 25 minute lesson to telecast as TV Lessons for the Bhutan eLearning program. Soon I was going to become a camera teacher! I have seen many enjoy the sweat of facing the cameras for the first time and teaching a lesson without any students in front of them. Friends shared how they felt and learned by the day. Even the most confident colleagues shared their stage fright moments. Through the V-TOB initiative, teachers received the opportunity to volunteer to develop lessons that were to be aired on BBS for students across the nation during school closures.
And there I was, waiting to realise and experience it too. I was prepared for the lesson and it was a lesson I have been doing for a long time. However there was something interesting, maybe an apprehensive mood. A kind lady comes and does a simple make up, which I tried to refuse initially. The make up is a necessity, even for the post shoot editing.
I ran through my slides many times and prepared myself mentally. I never felt that sort of excitement before, not even during my Mathematics examination days. The setting was simple – a green wall, an empty table, many lights, a nice camera, a computer station and few smiling familiar faces in the room. I was at iBEST Studios to do my recording. I was supposed to stand behind that neat table, facing the camera along with all those encouraging faces and to teach a 25 minute lesson to the camera.
Before the magic time, I was briefly briefed with a lot of motivation. I gathered my confidence, mentally prepared and started to teach the camera. It was a “No” right away because I was speaking too fast. I could feel my face reddening and getting sweaty. I was more nervous. I tried a couple of times until it was acceptable. Honestly, I forgot all the supposedly easy lessons and was quite blank.
With a lot of encouragement, trials and patience from the technical team, I was able to record my first lesson. It wasn’t an easy job at all. I took more than an hour, gobbled down more than a litre of water and made the technical team practice their patience through a lot of ahh, uhh and presentation mistakes. At the end, I have successfully recorded more than 10 short videos to make up the whole video lesson.
Well the job isn’t done there-the more taxing and tedious job happens later. The video editing expert takes my 10 takes of short videos, voice clips and the script to do the post production job. This takes a long time. Luckily I had to redo only one voice clip and few minor edits in the video. Sometimes this task takes longer than our patience can hold. I was told that one video took a day and half to record and an equally longer time to produce it as a final video.
After few days, I was called to review my draft and I was honestly not confident to watch it. I sounded different and looked different but at the same time I was happy that I did it. I reassured myself that as long as the content is accurate and the lesson is good, I will swallow the way I sounded or looked. I suggested a few additions and deletions before it was taken to the Quality Assurance Team for a detailed review. Every lesson goes through this process before it’s aired.
The Quality Assurance Team passed the video and it was scheduled for airing. I was excited in a very unique way. I waited patiently. On the day of the airing, I sneaked out to a silent corner to watch the lesson on the B-Trowa App. This app has been a life saver for me as I had some humble responsibilities to watch every lesson aired and report accordingly. I was happy to see myself teaching the children across the nation, a sense of fulfilment was felt within. During the whole lesson time, I was equally nervous and getting a bit warm as I watched. As I was enjoying the lesson, I received a lot of messages and photos from family and friends-all were too generous with their compliments.
Just like me, more than 300 teachers went through this experience of a lifetime. Teachers volunteered to teach on Television. As the pandemic forced schools to be closed and students stayed home, continued education was the next step to take. Owing to the current status and as the fastest way to start, teaching through television was Bhutan’s first step in delivering continued education.
V-TOB is grateful to the Prime Minister, Ministry of Education, Royal Education Council, BBS, all relevant stakeholders and well wishers for the opportunity to offer our services as teachers and citizens too. During this beautiful journey, we have seen a strong sense of dedication, harmony, resilience and creativity. A harmonious family-like working environment was created by the Ministry of Education amongst the ministry, REC and teachers, who were strongly supported by numerous stakeholders. Motithang HSS became the centre of Education in Emergency-everyone tried their best. The team saw teachers and individuals helping us through other platforms too.
Through the months of this lifetime opportunity, we have experienced the true potentials of teachers in every field. Personally, I have seen a few cry too. Some gave up after days of trying. Most became professional camera teachers – teachers do learn fast. Some stayed in Thimphu for months but with all the same passion. Few didn’t mind traveling from afar and we all didn’t stop because of Covid, though we were cautious.
Teachers can adapt, adjust, sacrifice and deliver if they are given the platform. Teachers are ready to transform challenges into endless opportunities and support with our services beyond the self. Let us also motivate ourselves to come forward to empower, inspire, innovate, be resilient and be our best because the teaching profession touches all lives and generations.
We can become camera teachers overnight too!
Lobesa LSS, Punakha