Follow along for updates on how a small town WI teacher is handling the Covid-19 crisis.
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Reality Check for Online Teaching
I am not Wonder Woman, I cannot do it all.
April was a big reality check in teaching online for me. If you have been following along, our district began virtual teaching with no new work being given. (see the exact parameters here).
I’ll be honest, this gave me a false sense of how “easy” virtual learning was going to be. I set up a quarantine routine that worked wonders for me during the first 2-3 weeks of virtual teaching.
Then we come to the end of March. We got word from our Governor that we will NOT be returning to school this year, we will only be teaching online. Here begins the scramble.
We were given one week to plan virtual learning for the rest of the school year. That was hectic enough in the first place, but add the fact that this year I was trying out new curriculum as well as teaching a course I had never taught before… I had very little to pull from.
I got the news on a Tuesday about creating a Learning Plan for the next two months and it took me a few days to wrap my head around what on earth I was going to do. After my busy weekly duties were done, I began working that Friday. In the next four days, I put in over 60 hours of work on my four learning plans.
Sleep, food, projects, blogging, everything essential and non went out the window. All that I could focus on was the Learning Plan.
And even with all that work, I was only able to get one class 95% done while the others had at least a plan in place and a few assignments/activities ready to go.
I’ll be honest. The month of April was a big reality check for online teaching. It felt like my first year teaching again. Trying so many new things, attempting to engage the kiddos, wanting to be a good teacher so bad it physically hurt at times.
Once April began to draw to a close and May got underway, things were running smoothly again. I was able to finish a great project for a friend (more to come on that later). We finished up our house project and put my home back in order. I could begin to sleep normally again haha.
Then, a new wave hit me. Guilt. I am not Wonder Woman. I cannot do it all. But darn it, I want to try.
I felt guilty about not helping my husband more with the house projects, that I wasn’t working on my own projects, that I had made such good progress blogging and was losing it all…
I had such high expectations of what working at home could look like. And in the beginning, my expectations were being met! I think that’s why it hurt when I couldn’t do all the things I wanted to.
I have to take my own advice sometimes and give myself grace. This has been a crazy time and I have no experience to draw from on how I should be handling this. This had to be the biggest reality check for online teaching.Shop our Educational Resources at Booksamillion.com
And THAT’S OK!
It’s ok to let some of your to-do lists go to the wayside. To take a break from the things that you love to do in order to settle your life down. If I HAD accomplished all the things I originally set out to do, I would not be the teacher my students needed me to be. I am so happy with how I have handled online teaching. Luckily, I have been able to reach so many of my students on their timeline, while others I could catch up with during my weekly “office” hours. I have been able to contact more parents than ever before. I could have a Google Hangout with a student who was very behind for over three hours to get them caught up.
All of these things I would not have been able to do if I was in the classroom. As much as I miss seeing all of my kiddos and teaching in my classroom, this experience has taught me so much. As I continue to look back, I appreciate this reality check on online teaching.
My Big Takeaways:
- Virtual teaching presents many unique and awesome opportunities to reach students
- one-on-one time with students
- creativity in presenting lessons and activities
- “set” your own schedule
- Parents are just as lost and stressed as we are, together we can be each other’s biggest assets
- I have yet to have a parent say I am contacting them too much. In fact, more often than not they thank me for letting them know how their children are doing in class.
- Students are more thankful for our efforts than we may realize
- Virtual learning is a HUGE test of our patience, both teachers and students. I have found that encourage words and emails, along with many how-to videos and picture directions make a big difference.
- Sometimes, answering an email at 10 pm can make a big difference for a student
- Many students have to watch their younger siblings or even nieces and nephews. I often see students turning in assignments between 10pm-3am. Working within their schedules at times may be the only way they can get things done.
- However, not checking your email for an entire weekend is GOOD
- Self-care!! Working from home has the danger of becoming a 24/7 job. Know when to walk away and take a break.
- Lean on family and close friends, they are going through this crud as well
- My weekly family group facetime and group chats with friends have been a lifeline that I hope continues after this crisis is over.
- Ask for advice, but only take what you need
- I belong to many Facebook groups and there is a plethora of advice out there. It can be overwhelming at times to work through it all. Find what you need and move on.
- Remove the Facebook app from the phone
- Consistently my biggest time waster… Not only that, but it can cause a lot of mental stress as well.
- Summer is coming, we are almost done!