I wrote in Tuesday night’’s post that the first day of teaching my classes remotely/online was challenging.
I thought it would be good to follow that up at the end of the school week with my insights after a few more days’ experience.
Things definitely got better as the school week progressed.
All of my students seemed to relax and interact more normally as the week progressed. I think some of them found it really awkward and a bit artificial at first, and many others— myself included— just didn’t know what to expect.
I had to make my expectations for behaviour and interactions super clear via email to a couple of kids.
I actually made an explicit list of what I expected and what they were not welcome to do. This helped to set boundaries for them, and they changed their attitude accordingly. Things were a lot better after that.
My students have done some great work this week, and I have been able to give positive and constructive feedback to encourage them.
This also encourages me: I can do this. The kids appreciate my effort and input. My classes are benefiting from the structure, the lessons and the encouragement I have given them. It doesn’t matter if I feel it’s not the same or not enough, or as though I am treading water.
I am good enough. My teaching is valuable. I can do this.
I am so thankful for my school and its consistent, uniform approach to the delivery of lessons and learning material. I’m also super glad we have followed the same routines and timetables.
In times of turmoil and change, schools, teachers and students all have the greatest chance of success when everyone is on the same page and things are kept as consistent and stable as possible
In my discussions with friends and family who teach elsewhere, I have learned that this isn’t happening elsewhere. Timetables and class sizes have changed for some, some have new classes they’ve never had before, and others have no streamlined or consistent method of delivery or assessment. One poor soul is trying to deal with all of those complications and more.
I am trying to be as supportive of that particular friend as I can be, and have suggested that if the school has left it completely up to him to manage, he might follow the practices my own school has implemented so that his students have some structure and consistency with his classes at least. He’s going to do that, and suggest those same things to his colleagues.
Teachers worldwide are struggling with the same anxieties, challenges and logistics that I am.
I am note alone.
Nor are my students.
We should not be discouraged if we don’t get through the regular program, or if things don’t always work the way we’d like them to.
Our online classrooms provide valuable connection and communication for the kids. It helps them to feel less isolated and cut off, and gives them regular opportunities to think and talk about life beyond corona.
Ultimately, my students are safe and healthy at home, and learning every day. Those are blessings that should not ever be taken for granted in this strange coronaverse of 2020.
I can honestly say I am looking forward to another week of positive, encouraging lessons and interactions after a well-earned rest this weekend.