Updated: Oct 5, 2020
PJ Day~ Virtual learning style with my favorite book buddy Squish~ Welcome to my new classroom
I landed my first teaching position in late January of this year after five years of being an aftercare coordinator. I was nervous to start a teaching position mid year, but I had a feeling it would be the right fit. I was starting to learn all my students temperaments, how I wanted my classroom to look, and how I wanted to teach my students. I was with my students for eight hours a day, five days a week, for two short months before Coronavirus gave us a visit. Now I am doing what most teachers are, adjusting to our new normal of distant learning. I wanted to talk about my personal experience surrounded by the misconceptions of virtual learning.
1. Teachers love being home
2. Teachers are not working as hard
3. All teachers are getting paid
I am SAD. Why? I can not see my students make connections. I am not there to see who wins the sleep race. I am not there to make sure they are practicing the skills we went over earlier that day. Being home was okay for a day or so, but when reality hit that we would not be returning for the rest of the school year, I was heartbroken. My sweet students who I spent eight hours a day, five days a week with, for two short months. My ten best friends who were making so much progress were robbed of so many learning experiences, and a graduation. I know their parents are taking great care of them and trying their best to carry out the online lessons (it's not easy)! I am sad I am home, but I know it is the best thing for all of us to stay safe! I am blessed that I am healthy and my students are healthy. If distance learning will keep us all safe, it is what we must do! Please never think teachers are happy to be away from their students, they are our world!
Believe it or not I am working HARDER. Planning one lesson can take hours. Creating the resources after planning the lesson can take hours. Printing, laminating, cutting, can take hours. Since I am not doing that, I'm sure you are wondering what are you doing now? Well, if your thinking I am sitting on my bottom binge watching Netflix and eating junk food .... your wrong...that happens AFTER my work day is over!
Teaching Pre-K online is super difficult because they are learning the foundations to e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. reading, math, writing, science, history, legitimately EVERYTHING. For the most part Pre-K schools are not supposed to distribute worksheets during the school day. The goal at Pre-K age is to have the students learn through play. I am trying my absolute best to still implement this. Every day I research different activities for different subjects. Then I alter them to adapt to my students needs. Sometimes I just think of activities off the top of my head. When I do that I have to try them out alone before I send them out to make sure they flow. I have to make sure my students have the materials at home. I am very mindful of this, and often give multiple different household materials parents can use to carry out the lessons.
After I have my lesson I just send it out right? WRONG, many of my students families speak different languages so I translate all of the lessons so my students families don't have to! Something else I have done to make it easier for my families who need translation is creating videos with no words just actions so they can mimic what I do! This has been super successful for my entire class. Please keep in mind that not all teachers have personal computers at home. Not all teachers have the best living rooms to turn into classrooms. Not all teachers feel comfortable jumping on camera. This is an adjustment for ALL.
Virtual learning at first was a struggle for me because going into online learning I had no clue how to edit videos, speed them up, slow them down, cut parts out ext. Aside from all of this stuff, I have been doing non stop online trainings, planning for our return, and navigating all of the new procedures that we need to follow when we get back.
I personally feel that I am working way harder from home BECAUSE I am not in the classroom. I can not be 100% sure if my students are making the connections I had hoped for them to make. I am not there to practice their skills with them if they need extra help. Since I am not there I am over working to make sure they are prepared for Kindergarten.
Most preschool teachers are sadly NOT getting paid during the pandemic. Many had to file for unemployment or they have taken pay cuts. As many of you know the salary of a teacher is not large. However, there are many teachers on unemployment STILL teaching when they are not required to. That is what is means to be a true teacher. Learning MUST go on! We did not sign up to be teachers because of the money, we signed up to be teachers because it makes our soul feel good. Helping your children grow and learn is so fulfilling.
Being away from our students has been hard. Working from home has been hard. Not knowing what the future holds has been hard. There is one thing I do know, we love your children, we will do anything to make sure they succeed, and we support you inside and outside of the classroom.
If you know a teacher; Be patient. Be kind. Be supportive.
Stay Safe Everyone,