How the pandemic turned these teachers into social media stars


Parth Momaya (27) from Ghatkopar in Mumbai had no idea how his life was going to change when he started sharing his recorded lectures on social media after losing his job at a reputable coaching institute in May 2020 due to pandemic-induced financial stress. Two years later, with 2.78 lakh subscribers to its Youtube channel, Momaya is now a brand that many big players have tried to acquire.

“The offers are lucrative but I prefer independence. I worked very hard on this content,” said Momaya, who creates science video lessons for students preparing for the Maharashtra class X board exam from her bedroom. Its use of animation to explain concepts is a big draw.

The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted education around the world. In India, the prolonged education shutdown has taken a heavy toll on education employment, with teachers suffering job losses and pay cuts and temporary teachers failing to secure permanent positions that guarantee benefits and better pay. Although there is no official data on jobs lost in the sector, an estimate from the Maharashtra Coaching Class Owners Association (MCOA) claims that around 20,000 coaching institutes in the state have had to close shop during the pandemic.

In the face of uncertainty, some teachers have turned to Youtube to continue teaching, and many, like Momaya, have become their own social media stars. Along the way, they became more tech-savvy and learned how to spruce up their video lectures with taglines, a background score, and animation to keep students tuned in and, in turn, earn more. followers. The latter helps them earn extra money as content creators and influencers.

Wasim Khan (32), who is M.Sc. Lit. qualified, comes from a family of teachers. He claims he was unable to get money to “donate” for a permanent job at a public school. So he joined a private school as a temporary teacher, hoping to be absorbed as a permanent employee, eventually. But when the pandemic hit, her hopes were dashed and Khan decided to move on. His first video lesson in Urdu on Youtube has been viewed 300 times. Encouraged by the response, he started creating more content and never looked back. He is possibly the only Youtube educator to offer Urdu lessons covering Maharashtra State Board’s Class X curriculum.

Khan’s subscriber base – around 60,000 – is impressive given that it only caters to students interested in learning Urdu. Over time, he even recruited more Urdu language teachers as guest speakers on his channel. “I pay them per lecture and some of them join voluntarily because they want to experience this new platform,” said Khan, whose videos are popular for his new way of using movie references. of Bollywood, among others, to explain scientific concepts. He said students from outside Maharashtra also approached him for personal lectures online after he was introduced to his YouTube channel.

The transition from face-to-face teaching to online classes has not been easy. Khan didn’t know much about shooting videos when he started. His journey, like others, started from his bedroom where he used to stand in front of a whiteboard and teach while looking directly into his phone camera. He improved his skills by watching online tutorials. He now uses a green screen (chroma screen) to add visual effects to his videos and recently purchased a noise canceling microphone.

“If I stop adapting and learning new techniques, the content will become boring for students,” Momaya said. “Our best return is our students. Their comments make the content more interesting.

Influential teachers make money from YouTube ads, subscription content, sponsored videos, branding opportunities, and by selling question banks and lecture notes. Aside from that, they can also earn through “super likes” and “super chats”, a Youtube feature that allows viewers to support their favorite content creators with small payments. To become an influencer, you don’t need a formal education degree. Well aware that their content has a seasonal demand (exam season), many of these teachers build a wider audience by creating content for other school boards.

“On YouTube alone, I earn around 15,000-20,000 rupees per month. Apart from that, there are offers to do sponsored videos. For example, a textbook publisher may ask me to review a book on my channel because a significant number of my viewers or subscribers are his target audience, says Shubham Jha (23), who creates video lessons for class 10 students of Maharashtra State Board from his small studio in Delhi. nearly 40,000 subscribers.

Before Jha started his YouTube channel in 2020, he was teaching at a local coaching institute in the Palghar area of ​​Mumbai to earn “pocket money” as a student himself. As the pandemic turned virtual learning, her coaching institute students began to drop out and Jha decided to look for other opportunities. It was then that he met a few teachers on YouTube. He studied their videos and then contacted a popular YouTuber, Dinesh Kumar Gupta, to find out how to start his own channel. Gupta, a former school teacher, is among the few teachers who took to social media long before the pandemic hit in 2017.

Edtech platforms have also started approaching them to take lectures as visiting professors. Payment for these lectures, according to Momaya, depends on the teacher’s popularity. “The more followers you have, the higher your chances of earning. It is completely different from the conventional teaching process in schools or colleges where getting a permanent teaching job is like a dream,” Momaya said. , who now earns more than he used when he taught at the coaching institute.

But there are limits. “A teacher’s income on this platform cannot be equal to an artist’s. Our content is seasonal and usually in demand during exam season. But after that, the chart may drop. Likewise, we lose subscribers after passing this course and no longer need this content,” said Momaya.

But one of the most difficult factors for these teachers is knowing what their students have understood. “Assessment is a very important aspect of teaching. But as a YouTube teacher, that’s not possible. Even doubt-solving sessions via live videos are difficult with thousands of students watching at once,” Jha said.

Their success, however, provides more incentive to jump on the bandwagon. Drushti Gada (22), who taught in coaching classes, has just started her journey as a YouTube teacher from September 2021 after discovering a few YouTube channels. “I just learned about the new platform and it’s really exciting. I’ll be able to do what I love the most: teaching, and without too much hassle.


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