I am a California Educator.

 

The morning tech fear is slowly subsiding. My principal just spent 10 minutes getting my Google Calendar synched with the other teacher’s calendars. It was an easy fix for her but something I had been trying to do for three days. Teachers, like parents, are expected to be “distance learning tech professionals”. Some are, some, like me, need a little help. Do what you can, I spent the first day of classes holding my phone with my left hand while conducting class because my laptop couldn’t connect with the Zoom meetings. Keep trying, failure is growth.

 

Attendance the first week of distance learning has been outstanding which, to me, is what it’s all about. Engagement in a time of crisis. The kids, like us, are yearning for connection and normalcy. Returning to a daily school schedule even though it’s virtual, helps us connect. But we are all rusty and we need to crawl before we walk and walk before we run.

 

I am a California Educator.

 

The rising sun this morning was more orange than red meaning the smoke layer is going in the right direction. The air quality is 60, moderate, which means my classroom door can remain open while I teach my classes. There is a remodel being completed at our facility and we have no air conditioning.

 

I am teaching inside my classroom for two reasons. First because when I need to explain the line of symmetry to students, I can grab the yardstick or one wood golf club sitting in the corner of the classroom. And second because it normalizes me. Never forget the #1 rule of emergency situations, if you don’t keep yourself safe first, you can’t help anyone.

 

I am a California Educator.

 

Staring at my balding rosacea face for four hours is tough but it makes me want to start riding my bike to work and get healthier (once the fires are out of course).  Having no students in class stinks but my ADD brain is much less scattered. Not having to run out in the afternoon to coach girl’s golf is unfortunate but gives me more time to prepare lessons. Having students see me during Zoom meetings in the classroom with my mask lowered but on, conveys normalcy and promotes science, two things we desperately need right about now.

 

Then there’s the accountability. Daily synchronous (live) lessons are just better than asynchronous (recorded) lessons. Interacting with students and having them interact with each other is not just a good thing but, as we learned in Biology this week, an important trait of all living things. Plus, I have had zero behavior problems and zero phone issues, and if a student is goofing off, I can put him in a Breakout room with the principal.

 

I am a California Educator.

 

The challenges are many: maintaining equity, screen time overload, technology issues, and the big challenge of how to create lessons which engage students to the same level as when they were in the classroom. Distance learning is tougher than being in class but it’s all we have at this time so let’s make the best of it.

 

The greatest thing I’m seeing from students is the stuff that can’t be put on a data sheet. The personal comment in the chat box from a student who missed hearing my little chuckle in class. The two usually disengaged students who came by the office to pick up some art supplies and said how much they missed this place. The sense of accomplishment felt by the student who had the wrong Google Classroom code but was able to figure it out anyway. Having a student tell me that he thinks daily about one thing I said in class, “Every day is the first day of the rest of your life”.

 

We will survive, it will get easier, kids will learn and one day we will be back hopefully having learned some new lessons of our own.

 

I am a California Educator.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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