Saturday, March 28, 2020

Teaching From Home–Day 10A –I'm One of the Lucky Ones

There has been a lot in the news about schools being closed and how schools are dealing with it. There seems to be everything for regular online synchronous teaching like my school is doing to no school at all. A range in between. The school district I live in is posting assignments on Monday to be completed by Friday. That's it. No interaction with teachers.

I don’t know who that is harder on – students who are doing boring work without teachers to help, teachers who struggle to find meaningful work that students can do without a teacher, or parents who are having to make sure their kids do the work.

Teachers are not trained for this sort of teaching. Not any of it. It’s not like a MOOC where someone spends months planning things, recording videos, developing special tests and exercises. This is new.
Teachers have been asked to do more with less as long as there have been schools though. Teachers are resilient and innovative. Its a necessity even in good times. And so teachers are doing amazing things and trying to maintain learning and some sort of connection to students.

I’ve got great internet. My students have great internet. I’m hearing stories of teachers having very poor internet though. Rural areas in the US, like in many other countries, don’t have the same quality and speed that more heavily developed areas do. So I’m lucky.

Training and preparation are another area where I feel lucky. We had a short introduction to teaching from home and some tools to do so at least two weeks before we actually moved to remote teaching. We were told to think about how we would be teaching remotely and we did. Then there was a full day of training before we started. Training seems to run the range for several days (yeah!) to none at all.

Even still there is a lot of figuring things out as we go. It’s amazing how helpful Facebook has been though. Teachers are sharing ideas and tools like crazy. In spite of physical separation it feels like teachers are building community rather than losing it. This may turn out to be a good side effect.


Garth said...

I am finding what used to be 5 minutes of prep time is now at least an hour, usually more. New digital textbook, no whiteboard for illustration, no students to get a feel for the level of understanding/confusion (Zoom is not the same, no "feel") and no comfort level yet. I think it will get better. I am getting a feel for the new text and I ordered a graphics pad so I will have a digital whiteboard so I can do problems on the "board". The feel for understanding will now be shifted to the students, they will have to be more proactive. I think prep time for each class is still going to be massive but it is doable. It will hone my writing skills.

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate all of these posts! It is helping me think through what I want to do. Our spring break is coming to an end and we go to distance learning starting next week (the week before spring break we just sent students home with an "enrichment assignment" that was not graded). From what I am seeing we will be posting assignments on Monday that are due on Friday and each teach has a one hour Google Meet timeslot to answer questions for students on the assignments. For me that means one hour to answer questions one three different preps. My plan will be to be online line for that hour but also to allow students to make appointments to work one-on-one as they have questions.