Coronageddon2020 Day#Who Knows? Sharing with my greater La Center family, because today's teaching/ learning struggles nearly did me in. I'm not looking for sympathy just better understanding for all involved.
March 13th began as an ordinary Friday. Actually, scratch that. It snowed that morning! In passing, Mr. Totten asked me if I thought school would close due to the Coronavirus. I naively assured him we would soldier on for that is THE LA CENTER WAY. (Ominous music seeped through the hallway speakers at this moment.)
Oopsies. I could not be more incorrect.
By mid-morning, we had word school would close through April 24th. (BTDubbs- I WISH we were going back to school Monday.)
At 2:30ish, kids began a chorus of "Schooool's out for SUMMER! Schoooool's out FOR- EVER!!!" whilst throwing papers in the air in sheer jubilation as if those were graduation caps! You would have thought it was a 1980s MTv hair band video crossed with School of Rock!
(Okay. Truth be told, that only happened in my mind, but it makes for such vivid imagery, I thought you should be privy to it.)
No one was prepared for THIS.
What we have here is a drastic and sudden departure from our educational delivery model.
Slowly forward to today...
Material I created, stressed over, & thought would be student friendly is not working. Constituents are losing patience & are frustrated with one another. Wearing a mask & gloves while attempting to grade paper assignments is way more taxing & more of a workout than I imagined. Prepping now for 3 different subjects is complicated, frustrating, & draining. I've been teaching multiple subjects for 28 years!
But not THIS way.
Teachers, students, & parents are all TRYING to make this work. We all have different skill levels. I do not know how to "technologize", but I am learning (silver lining) along with many parents out there. The learning curve is STEEP for some of us Gen Xers and beyond. State guidelines are updated / changed often. (Imagine a rigged roulette wheel ball settling on one number only to bounce to a different number.) Teachers are correcting last week's assignments, answering questions about access & online platforms (remember- I am not a native tech speaker- Is there a difference between a web browser and search engine and is Chrome not the same as Googling?), teaching this week's lessons, preparing online & offline assignments for 2 weeks from now so they can be printed & mailed out next week, modifying assignments for individual student needs, begging over email for assignments from before March 13th to help kids pass 3rd quarter, & attempting to contact students we have not heard from. I am at school every day for 7-8 hrs to use the school internet (you know, TDS at home...) and answer emails. I prep lessons at home before & afterwards. I feel guilty for the 6 minutes I am unavailable while driving to school!
I feel awful for my students who are struggling to figure this out. They are just kids. I feel awful for parents attempting to assist their child while being new to the online learning platforms, Google Classroom, & daily education jargon. (The only ones I don't feel badly for are the pets. They are all ecstatic we are spending more time with them.)
I am a teacher, because kids are worth investing in. I miss my students, their smiles, & their laughter (even if they are just pretending my lame science jokes are funny).
Our school character trait for April is "forgiveness". Now, I believe all parties involved here are working in earnest & are not making intentional issues for one another. The type of forgiveness I would teach my students about is more like grace than absolution of wrong doing. What I mean is not taking offense when something goes wrongly, giving more patience in difficult situations, being more generous with assuming good intentions, & offering chances for "do overs".
Remember the relief of being given a "do over" when you messed up on a task, big project, or game at recess? No one called you out, blamed you for the final score, or said demeaning things about you. We were a team supporting one another, cheering each other on for the common good, and wanting each other to have the best opportunity to do our greatest. (Think Bad News Bears & cue the Chariots of Fire music here.)
Thanks for listening La Center friends & family. I'm going to "forgive" today and have a "do over" tomorrow. Be kind & show grace to yourselves & each other.
PS- Did you ever wonder if maybe Sisyphus didn't actually feel punished for all eternity by pushing that boulder up the hill everyday only to have it roll back down? No? Just me? Well, hang with me here for a moment. Maybe, just maybe, Sisyphus saw it as getting a "do over" each day, an opportunity for perfecting his boulder pushing technique! He showed "forgiveness" towards himself, that boulder, & that big old hill. Yes. Indeed. He was The "Eternal" Optimist.
Disclaimer: These ramblings are brought to you by the Association of COVID-19 Quarantine Cabin Fever Sufferers & Essential Workers of the World. ?