Sunday, April 12, 2020

Our New Reality: Virtual Teaching

So I used to think I was at least somewhat tech savvy. My students learn how to write digital stories. We use digital portfolios I maintain a class website, this blog. It has been very humbling to discover that yeah....not as tech savvy as I once thought.

We were at school on a Thursday and then told we would not return Friday, the following week was Spring Break. I did not know that our last day was going to be our last day. If I had known I would have sent more supplies and materials home with the kids. I would have made sure to hug every one of them and tell them how much I loved them and how proud I am of the progress they made this year. I have never had a class like this before-they are kind, creative, bright, hard-working. We had some amazing projects in the works and like that-all that has changed.

I posted this meme on Facebook and I truly believe that this is the truth! I've seen teachers and administrators step up and get things done. We aren't whining about the situation, we are doing our best to adapt. No training, no one who has been through this before to guide us. We are making it up as we go along. Readjusting our sails to make it more effective.

The platforms we were told to use were Google Classroom (I always thought this was a little advanced for my little ones-I wish I had paid more attention to the webinars I've viewed on this topic) and Microsoft Teams which if I'm being completely honest-I had never even heard of before this happened. It has been a learning curve-that's for sure!

My parents have been such good sports. Signing up for these new accounts-for many, having to keep track of multiple logins for multiple siblings. I have truly been in awe at how well they are balancing everything and applaud any effort to keep the learning of their children going.

My first online lesson had 3 students in it. My second had 10 and it was a disaster! I muted everyone so I could read my story and they were unmuting themselves. I tried to use management techniques I use in the classroom but it just didn't work. At the end I logged out and went back in to make sure it recorded-those little boogerbears were joining back in and talking to each other! I was like man, I should not have taught you guys how to read! :) So I had to manually kick each student off. Solving this problem-next week I am starting small groups. I feel like it will be exhausting but hopefully more effective.

The recorded lessons go better but still things I can't for. This is my teaching assistant who manages to photo bomb every single video!

All in all I am so proud of our profession and the  way people have stepped up. I am so grateful to be working on a team with people willing to collaborate and help each other. My principal sent out a request one day and every single grade level in the whole school had responded within the hour. Amazing dedication.

I read comments from people saying they shouldn't have to pay us for our "vacation". I have never worked this hard before. Planning the lessons (from what I have access to at home), recording the lessons, posting the lessons, checking the assignments, doing live lessons, answering texts from parents, contacting parents, responding to e-mails from admin and all the while documenting EVERYTHING because the state will review our work to see if they issue a waiver for these days. The days pass by so quickly-I look outside and it's getting dark-where did the day go?

Congratulations to our profession for showing dedication and flexibility (especially the more seasoned teachers like myself who are not as comfortable with the new technology or even just with recording ourselves-the Tik Tok generation seems much more comfortable with this). My sincere hope is that we can return in the fall and I can reconnect with each and every one of my kiddos!

How have you been coping with having to adapt to this new style of teaching?

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