When the weekend feels the same as any other day of the week, it is difficult to make Monday feel like a real workday. Or Tuesday. Or whatever day this is.
The current “learning” situation: two children have been e-learning since March 17. Somewhere during that time was a spring break. The college junior was on spring break for two weeks and has had online classes since March 30. I was on spring break for one week, designed online lessons the next week, and started teaching online March 23.
Moving everything online has tapped me out. I like teaching my summer online course, but I get to plan ahead of time how to monitor discussion board posts, projects, and assignments. In face-to-face classes, our “discussion board posts” are class discussions using big pieces of butcher paper. Everyone has been challenged in multiple ways, but this is seriously affecting my ability to focus on anything tangible. Another day passes and I still have over 100 discussion board posts/comments/replies.
Was it the right move for me to shift whole class meetings to small group and individual Zoom meetings? I do know that providing a more flexible online class schedule allowed some of my students to pick up extra shifts at their second jobs (second) when their primary employers (daycare worker, teacher assistant, etc.) closed doors. However, other students are Missing-In-Action, not responding to my emails, announcements, or other requests for communication.
And I get it. My own college daughter is struggling with her professors’ expectations, all of them different.
- Does this professor expect discussion board posts?
- Is this the class that requires a comment on someone else’s post?
- Am I supposed to watch this video-recorded lecture?
- Which PowerPoint slides go with this quiz?
As a program coordinator for secondary English education, I have to ask questions from the teacher preparation standpoint, as well.
- What has the pandemic and remote learning changed how we think about classroom preparation?
- What will schools/districts expect student teachers to know how to do this fall or next spring (especially if there are thoughts of another extended closing)?
- Will principals require two weeks of remote learning activities in teachers’ back pockets as opposed to the traditional 2-3 days of substitute teacher lesson plans?
These are important conversations to have now – right after I read these new discussion board comments, log student engagement, and email anyone who appears to be struggling like I am.
Tell me where you are struggling.