Published: 02nd June 2020
This Kerala Govt school teacher is doing online lessons for millions, despite being trolled as Blue Sari Teacher
While the online video classes were lauded by many, the teachers' photographs were misused and trolled by many social media users
Like every other year, school reopened on June 1. However, for English teacher Arooja Denney, things were quite different. Yes, she did prepare for the lecture the next day, but this time, there were no students in front of her. Instead, there were cameras and a tech crew. In fact, she needed to get through multiple takes to teach the same portion. After all, the shot had to be perfect to go online.
On June 1, the schools in Kerala started online classes for all its students via online mediums and the KITE Victers channel. Arooja was one of the teachers who conducted classes onthis virtual cast. A teacher in the Government Vocational Higher Secondary School, Poovachal, Arooja was conducting video lectures for the first time. She is, in fact, quite excited about the positive feedback from her students and their parents.
"It took us a lot of work. In fact, we do a lot of homework even before conducting lectures offline. But here, the challenge was real. We had to pretend that children were in front of us," she says. "The portions were edited by the SCERT Director, who vetted the lessons and gave us constructive feedback," she adds. The teacher obviously had to keep the students' short attention span in mind. "It was a real challenge. We had to successfully engage students. So, we added a lot of videos and collages. Also, this wasn't a mere lecture. We tried eliciting answers," she says.
Arooja's lectures then went viral all over Kerala. Soon, a lot of social media users started using her photographs to make memes and troll her mercilessly. A lot of them even had abusive, sexual undertones. Instagram, saw almost 48 fan accounts created for Arooja in a day. It was almost like when Accounts Teacher Sheril Kadavan went viral for dancing to the song Jimikki Kammal.
The teacher was quite oblivious to the trolling and preferred not to comment on this. However, a lot of activists and social media users soon started calling out these accounts and the trolls who were making fun of her. "While this initiative by the government has to be lauded, it is quite unfortunate to see people misusing the clips from these videos," says Rose Mary, an admin of feminist meme page Too Much Equal. "But at the same time, it is not shocking. Our society only appreciates a woman for her physical appearance rather than her skills. Probably, all the social media trolls must attend the lectures because those are actually quite educative," she adds.
The Kerala Police, however, were quick to react. On Monday evening, they had put up a post on their social media handle saying that strict action will be taken against those who misuse the photographs of teachers.