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Meet the teacher who goes door to door to teach her students in a pandemic

When Turkey went into lockdown, Gamze Arslan didn't want her students' education to suffer. So she came up with a plan.

Meet the teacher who goes door to door to teach her students in a pandemic
Image Source: isearch247 / Twitter

Gamze Arslan is a teacher in the eastern Van province of Turkey. When she realized that her students would not be able to attend her lessons owing to the ongoing global health crisis, she decided to take matters into her own hands. In an effort to ensure her students do not lose out on valuable learning, Arslan began visiting each student, going door to door. The teacher works in Van's Tusba district, where there are dozens of villages. Though the school has access to the internet, families in the area rarely do. Her initiative makes learning more accessible for all, BBC News reports.



"We have the internet at our school, but it's hard to teach because families don't have access to it at home," she said in an interview with a local news channel in Turkey. "So now I teach by going door-to-door with a whiteboard." Arslan travels through various village neighborhoods with a whiteboard in hand, instructing door to door. After making a visit, she makes sure to visit the next day as well in order to give her students new tasks and to make sure any homework she assigned has been done as well. The teacher does all this by ensuring she follows social distancing guidelines in addition to other hygiene best practices.



Her initiative has gained much praise in the media. Local officials, too, have spoken highly of her work. For instance, Tusba education director Mehmet Bakir Bedevioglu told Haberturk, "Our district is delighted to have an alternative to an impossible situation and feeling of helplessness. Her actions are an example of sacrifice, and we hope an example of good practice." In Turkey, the opposition party has long complained about the lack of internet access for all, widening the internet divide between students. While the rest of Europe has reopened schools, Turkey plans to launch a limited return to class starting from September 21.



Across the world, countries are grappling with the issue of access to the internet. Even the wealthiest of nations, such as the United States, have had to devise plans to distribute digital devices to students and ensure children are able to access the internet for online classes. Unfortunately, returning to school is not an option for several nations as this puts students' lives at risk. In the US alone, reports showed that 97,000 children contracted Coronavirus in August as schools reopened. This time has therefore been a moment of reckoning for national governments; those that figure out how to reinvent their educational systems will be the ones surging forward as the world recovers from the ongoing pandemic.


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