Follow along for updates on how a small town WI teacher is handling the Covid-19 crisis.
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Being thrown into online teaching had its challenges. But, one of the good things was I didn’t have time to overthink, I had to just do. Now that the school year is winding down, I want to reflect on some of the lessons I learned during online teaching about myself, my students, and my community.
Lessons Learned about myself
What Day is it?
It is really difficult to stay in a routine. In my first few weeks, I was still getting up at 6:30 am to be ready to go by 7:30. I soon realized that I didn’t have to get up that early. Well… then I began to sleep in a bit more and more each day. I am usually a morning person, but I found it hard to get the motivation to be up and work solo. Soon I found myself staying up later and later as well. No one knew if I was working or still getting ready at 9 am. As long as I was answering emails, I was good! Right?
Cue the guilt. This pattern ended as quickly as it started. No, I am not getting up at 6:30 am, but I am sure to be at my desk ready to go by no later than 8:00 am. Now, if I can keep that routine over the summer, that would be amazing haha.
Lesson Learned: Pick a sleep routine that works best for you. If you are a night owl, be a night owl. If you are an early bird, be that bird. Getting into bad sleeping habits can affect many areas of your life.
Not only did my sleeping routine become messed up, but so did my eating! When breakfast comes around 10, when should lunch be? If I eat again at noon, I am hungry for dinner at 4, but then my husband is home at 6, so that’s dinner number two, but then I am up until 1 am, so a quick snack at 11 should be good. Yeesh…
A diet nightmare. Add the facts that $1 pasta sides are sooooo gooood and that I haven’t worked out in months… I’ll be honest I became the heaviest I have ever been in my life during this time. It scared me.
I’m not a person who gets too hung up on the number on the scale, but I do have a good awareness of my body. I have been powerlifting since high school and in college, I had a job as a personal trainer. Because of this, I know what to eat and how much to work out to keep the physic I like, I was just doing the opposite. I felt sluggish, uncomfortable, and unhappy, this needed to change.
My wonderful husband has set up a workout area in our basement. That coupled with refusing to go down the pasta aisle has me feeling better already! More work to do in this department, but improvements are being made!
Lesson Learned: If you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it. If you don’t feel good about yourself, do something about it. The more I felt guilty and uncomfortable, the worse I got. Use that to make positive changes instead of digging deeper into the bad ones.
Only Child Syndrome
This is a term I use a lot (no idea if it is an actual thing) to describe antics sometimes. I am an only child. I spent most of my childhood on a farm in the middle of no where. (Really, rural rural Wisconsin. Dead end road in a valley surrounded by Amish. It was the best!)
With that being my background, sometimes being around a lot of people for a long period of time can be really overwhelming for me. Working from home, alone, has been really relaxing for me. I have enjoyed that aspect of this new life quite a lot. Would I want to teach online full time? To be honest I’m not sure. There are certain aspects I like a lot about it, but there are many downsides as well. It might be something I look into in the future.
Lesson Learned: I could work from home pretty easily. If something were to happen to my job and I had to do this again, I could.
Lessons Learned about my Students
We Have No Idea What They Are Going Through
I found out pretty quickly that attempting to get my high school students in a required routine was NOT going to happen. My original plan was to have mandatory office hours once a week where they would need to check in with me. That went out the window the first week. This has to be one of the hardest lessons I learned during online teaching because I am such a planner.
I received many excuses as to why they couldn’t make office hours. Everything from the simple “I have to work” to the audacious “I will not be awake at that time” and everything in between. I had a few students who have to make sure their litter brothers and sisters are doing their work before they can do their own. Many were and are feeling overwhelmed and under-motivated.
It is because of this knowledge, or lack thereof, that I found my patience for students grew immensely. I was more willing to answer emails at 10 pm instead of waiting until morning. I was more likely to send videos and pictures with step by step instructions multiple times. Reaching out to students first instead of waiting for them to ask questions was often the difference between students passing the class or letting it slide.Shop our Educational Resources at Booksamillion.com
Lesson Learned: Be patient with your students. Their lives have also been turned upside down. Be there for them in whatever capacity they need.
Parents are the Best!
This may not have been for all of my students, but many of these parents are the BEST! I have never had so much honest, appreciative, and fast feedback as I have during this.
Patience is key here too. There is a role reversal that has gone on. We, teachers, are more like the parents, checking to make sure the students have done their work. While the parents are now the ones sitting beside them, answering questions, helping to clarify directions, and keeping them motivated. Parents, I thank you. This has to be one of the biggest lessons I learned during online teaching.
Lesson Learned: HA! Your kiddo really does act this way at home too huh? But in all seriousness, I can’t thank parents enough for all the help they gave me and my students. I will be sure to involve parents more in their child’s learning in the future.
Lessons Learned about my Community
We’re all in this Together
I have never felt this close to my community, even though we are so far away. Whether it was being “Iced” by friends, participating in a Facebook “Drink and Dash” group, or helping to make face masks, this community really came together.
Lesson Learned: When times get tough, taking a moment to do something for others is the best way to see the good in the world.
The biggest lesson I learned from this is the power of thinking positively. We are constantly surrounded by negativity in the media, on social medial, in group chats, and around family dinner tables. But if we take a moment to pause, really pause and look around us, we can see there is so much to be thankful for. There are the lessons I learned from online teaching.
Thank you, Mrs. Pettit
Teaching virtually had many struggles, click here to view some of my small victories during this time.