What has your overall teaching experience been over the last few weeks?
Over the past three weeks I have been working many more hours than usual. I’ve been learning how to teach online and learning to use many teaching tools I have never used, even as a master teacher. The students have been great with little frustration, but the parents seem to need the most support and are experiencing the most frustration. I miss the students terribly and they feel the same. As an extrovert who gains energy from the interaction that school provides me, I feel lonely and have less energy than usual.
On the good side, I see lots of benefits to this new teaching approach and will incorporate some of it in the school years to follow. An example would be that when a student misses school and thus content, I see multiple ways to provide the lost learning more effectively by using these virtual tools.
I also see parents discovering a greater appreciation for all the work we do as teachers. In a sense, the roles have reversed. We are now supporting the parents in their effort to manage instruction within their homes. I think we teachers, as skilled practitioners, can make it look easy at times. Many parents have stated that they would never want to be a teacher and they have no idea how we do it every day. Such appreciation is welcomed.
What does your daily schedule look like?
I get up between 5-6AM every morning and begin answering emails and working on making lessons more dynamic for the students. I do lots of research daily and practice my lessons in front of the computer so I can see what my students will see. I am working seven days a week to keep up with all of the emails and adjustments needed for a completely new teaching modality. I work until around 4 every day and then a few hours in the evening to check emails again and look at data to see how students are progressing with their learning.
How are your students adjusting?
Students are expressing that they miss their teacher and the other students. They are finding that staying at home and doing everything virtually is not as satisfying for them. I meet with all students daily for lessons and then have set up individual meetings with each student to check in with them. They and I love that time together and feel the connection and trust between us that we built since the beginning of the year.
What is one story you can share about this experience?
I dropped off packets at each of my student’s homes and they were frantically waving through the windows, many with tear-filled eyes. Several parents left care packages on their front porch for me and it was a nice touch. One student wrote me a note that said, “Dear Mrs. ——. Thank you for taking me my work. I hope school isn’t canceled cause I miss you so much. Here is a present. Love —–.” He left me a tub of gourmet ice cream.
What do you want general public/SOH supporters to know?
Everyone knows that teachers have selected their careers out of love, not for compensation. Almost every teacher I know is struggling with income especially now because they’re unable to work their second job that provides them the supplemental income needed to do what they love.
I am concerned about the welfare of our students, as well. School and education as we know it, have been a shared experience for all of us growing up. I wonder what the impact will be on our students long-term regarding their learning and psychological progression.