Yesterday morning I had a virtual class meeting with my kiddos. It was so great to see them. Some of the kids come to every live meeting we have, and some haven’t been to any.
I miss their faces. I miss their hugs. I miss their jokes. I miss their quirks. I miss the sparkle in their eyes when something “clicks” for the first time.
I’ve been working on becoming a National Board Certified Teacher, and part of the process includes filming myself teaching. I have to then analyze and reflect on the lesson, and answer a whole long list of questions about what I did, how I did it, why I did it, what the results were, what those results tell me, and what my plan is for moving forward. I was reviewing one such lesson, and it struck me how different live teaching is with what we’re trying to do now.
In a classroom, so many of those choices comes naturally with experience. We make decisions based on what we know is best for kids, and what we know about individual students. This online format we’ve shifted to has taken that away.
I know there are experienced online educators who would argue that they have close relationships with their students and are able to make those types of assessments and adjustments via distance learning. Maybe they can. If so, I tip my hat to them. I, however, am struggling with it. Assigning a story and some comprehension questions, then offering some feedback on the written work, is NOT how I teach. It’s not best practice, and it’s not interesting or engaging for students. On the other hand, trying to assign cooperative learning opportunities or open-ended assignments just isn’t reasonable right now.
I have to take the victories where I can. Today one of my kiddos whom I hadn’t seen since before Spring Break showed up on our class feed. Oh happy day!
Tomorrow we’ll do another live chat, and I won’t worry about their oral reading fluency levels, their understanding of plural possessives, their ability to multiply fractions, or their understanding of the Homestead Act. Tomorrow I’ll listen to them talk about pets and bike rides and legos and little brothers and sisters. Tomorrow I’ll look at their art work and listen to their jokes, and let them know that I miss them. Tomorrow is for connecting with their hearts; their academics will catch up later.