Week 1 done! This week my school just did 1/2 days with students Wednesday through Friday. We did some whole-school meetings, as well as short individual classes. I’ve been thinking so much about school all throughout summer, it’s funny too realize all the things I forgot about until actually starting again!
Zoom discussions are difficult because…
STUDENT WIFI SUCKSS. This summer I’ve been Zooming other staff, my family, and individual kids for tutoring. My internet was usually the lowest quality in every call, so I thought to myself, “why did I even complain about Zoom Silence?” Well, day 1 quickly reminded me why. Some of my students have incredibly bad wifi. I know I’m lucky that my kids have wifi at all! But man, it makes synchronous learning very difficult and discussions insanely hard. Either there is a terrible lag in students’ voices or glitchy audio overall. It makes the whole idea of a discussion very unnatural and fatiguing for all.
Getting to know new students is…
not easy 😦 My school is very small so I know (or have even taught) nearly all of the students in my classes before. This is awesome. We knew each other in “the before times” – we’ve met face-to-face. However, my Algebra 1 class is usually all new students each year, and this year is no different. Meeting new students and trying to make connections and build community from scratch remotely feels like an insurmountable task. I honestly have no good tips for you at this point 😦
In order to maximize student learning you need…
to put the brainwork ON THE STUDENTS. This, in essence, is no different than in-person teaching, but I’ve found that I’ve needed to remind myself of this nearly every day while teaching remotely. Because it is SO easy for students to sit there silently on Zoom and zone out, and because normal discussions are unnatural, I find myself slipping into long monologues. This is fatiguing for me, but I think I keep doing it because I fear the silence. It’s a gut instinct that silence = no learning, especially on video. I’ve proactively planned to combat this instinct of mine, especially in my physics classes, by rounding up a whole bunch of highly-interactive online labs for the students. I know they physics. They don’t yet. They need to do the heavy lifting, and I should just be there as a guide/coach.
Next week begins our regular schedule (picture below). I have everything prepped, now it’s jus time to execute.
Keeping STUDENT thinking top of mind,
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