May 18th, 2020

Shifting the conversation

What we knew to be true yesterday, has shifted. Instead of relying on past data and information we had collected regarding our students, our focus needs to be on collecting new, relevant data. What is it that our students are dealing with? Do they have their own private space to learn or is it in their family car in the parking lot of Starbucks? Do they have the tools to do it; computer, paper packet, wifi access - all day or only sometimes (maybe between sibling/parent zoom meetings? Who is their support system and how available is this system to them? Does this look like a stay-at-home parent? A grandparent? A teacher? A parent who is laid-off? A working parent who barely has enough time/strength to say "I know you can do this" but has the insight to know that is all they can offer at a time like this? Is it all of these people or none of them? How can we reach out and work with families to support our students? How can we make this a productive partnership? What can we offer as support to address the WHOLE CHILD? How do we walk that line where we are providing a rich learning experience while keeping our students' emotional wellbeing as a priority? How do we foster productive struggle and allow for grace? What does our (as a teacher? As a counselor? As admin? As a county? As a state? As a community support provider?) work look like? Yes, we have more questions than answers, but this makes our work more imperative than ever!

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Comments (1)

Comments (1)

All your questions are the ones that teachers at my school are grappling with. I would just add the question; what does that rich remote learning experience look like? Case in point, first how does one address the parent that has two kids in high school, two in middle school and one in elementary school deal with all the various platforms, learning styles within their own family. It’s a little bit of what came first the chicken or the egg. If the home has the right tools/technology and knowledge then they can help their students more effectively and that certainly is emotionally positive. If the parent is emotionally positive but they lack the tools/skills they then become frustrated and lack the ability to help their own children.

Secondly as teachers how do we reimagine our remote learning curriculum to address all of our students’ individually when we don’t have them face to face? It will look different for k-8 and 9-12. Which makes me think of next year when I have incoming freshman students whom I have never met and we go straight to online learning. I have upwards of 130- 150 students throughout the year, how does social and emotional learning look with that many students that I do not see on a daily basis. I know, just from having vacation breaks, that students need a couple of days to readopt the physical and emotional aspects of a school day. Heck every Monday is like that.

Covid -19 is certainly bringing up an entire list of questions that no one has all the answers to, but collectively I hope we can have some standardization as to how to move forward and embrace a new school year with positivity and a plan. I am certainly concerned about what the potential of another class not having a face-to-face graduation would look like. I also love what I do, and there are a few individuals out there that think because students are home the need for teachers is very negotiable.

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