Wednesday, April 15, 2020

COVID-19: What do the parents say?

Here's what we're hearing about virtual learning:

"We love the read-alouds!"

"My child does not like the read-alouds."

"It is hard for us to commit to the once-a-week Zoom."

"Why can't we have more Zoom meetings each week?"

"Where are the academic tasks?"

"Why are there academic tasks?"

"You have sent a lot of lessons. Do we have to do them all?"

"Please, could you send more lessons? There are not enough."

"My child will not sit for more than five minutes."

"How can my child play independently, so that I may get work done?"


This is hard.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

COVID-19: What is tough?

There is so much that is
so tough
about virtual teaching.

This old gal is hoping that learning all this new technology -  group chats, FaceTime, shared google files, linking files, data entry for new schedules and spreadsheets, and so much more - will serve to prevent Alzheimer's. A girl can dream, yes?

I am drained.

Things are simultaneously

faster - instantaneous even,

  • talking to a child and seeing them in person!
  • opening a video, and hearing your teacher talk!
  • you can use the mute button and no one is interrupting!

and slower,

  • waiting for the other party to read your text,
  • or enter their information,
  • or respond to your email;
  • creating videos of books and morning meetings;
  • figuring out the nuances of uploading and linking files
  • things that must be done in a particular order, in order to be done right (and so there's more waiting and more 'do overs' as you learn)
  • it can feel as if you are repeating the same steps, over and over

and overwhelming,

  • so many emails in the inbox
  • so many 'stakeholders' - parents, administrators, colleagues, specialists, and more
  • it feels as if everything must be done at once
  • how to have good collaboration in this virtual world?

and complicated,

  • do you need to get permission to do this?
  • is it appropriate developmentally to expect this from a child?
  • are we burdening the families by asking for this?
  • what is most helpful right now?
  • so little body language, so many fewer clues (did this written message mean what I think it meant?)
  • it can feel as if you are repeating yourself, over and over

and hard,
everyone is in a different emotional place, dealing with their response to this crisis; some people have family members with the disease, others know no one and feel very removed, still others know someone who is an essential worker, on the front lines...we don't know what anyone else is carrying on their shoulders...we must give grace and love to all, and, especially,
to ourselves.

Deep cleansing breath.

Monday, April 6, 2020

COVID 19 - How have things changed?

I should be writing more in this blog, during this new normal.

My teaching days are now filled to the brim with new experiences - working through technical challenges to produce some clunky video for preschoolers, having virtual meetings with colleagues, FaceTime conversations with families and preschoolers, on and on. It's all new, and I think I am still trying to find my footing.

It feels as if the world is trying to find its footing.

So here we all are, figuring this out as we go.

Something kind of sweet though - we are building stronger connections with families. We are having rich one-on-one conversations on a regular basis, striving to be in contact at least twice a week. Each of us on the teaching team is taking turns to chat with families, and we share these stories with one another. This brings me great joy! I am particularly fond of FaceTime and the ability to see children's faces...I know it helps the preschoolers, too, to see mine (though, geez, I am shocked by how I look, every single time that camera pops on). I delight in preschooler's use of FaceTime - I have seen so many ceilings!

My friend Hannah's home routine for her preschooler
My role as teacher has changed. I find I am listener, supporter, and counselor, shoring up the family. I am touched by the confidences that have been shared - families needing to vent, to hope, to understand, seeking insight, perspective, affirmation, or just an ear. Over and over again, I am awed by the strength, wisdom, and love of all these families, how they are meeting the demands of this wild new time. We are a resilient species, we human beings.

It is perhaps not surprising that each family is succeeding a little differently from one another, no two alike. Couples are finding new work-life rhythms, these were made up on the fly and continue to be re-adjusted. Children have clear routines, no routines, and somewhere-in-the-middle routines; everyone is finding out what works best for them. I try to share what we did in school, just to let families know of what was once a very different setting.

Things are always going to be different at home.