When quarantine started over a year ago, I naïvely thought we’d be teaching remotely for two weeks. Little did I know distance learning would continue over a year and that we’d have an intermediate stage to distance vs. in-person teaching: the “hybrid” teaching scenario.
Today was day one back at school for me.
It was a strange experience, with a wide array of emotions, thoughts, and energy levels. My content classes were still entirely on Zoom (so I just sat in my empty classroom at the desk I almost never traditionally use when teaching), but during my study skills class I was able to work outside (thank you, California weather) with a few of our students who are on campus. On Monday, I’ll start teaching my Algebra 1 class as a hybrid class: three of my students will be in the classroom with me and the rest will be on Zoom. Wish me luck!
Anyway, here are my initial hybrid take-aways:
1. Be patient with us teachers.
Whether you are a parent, a student, an administrator, a teacher’s significant other, or a teacher yourself, please give us grace. Not only do we have to be two teachers at once: a Zoom teacher and an in-person teacher, the in-person teaching is an entirely new way of teaching. One year, three different modes of teaching. Honestly, I bet if you asked most teachers they’d say they were just starting to get the hang of distance teaching and now BAM, it’s hybrid time. The in-person aspect adds a new layer of thinking about seating arrangements, airflow, talking with your mask on, making sure your Zoom students can still see you, and avoiding close proximity to anyone.
2. No technology is perfect.
See point 1. I’m still debating how I want to run my hybrid Algebra 1. At the moment, I’m thinking my in-person students will at least have print-outs and won’t need their laptops at all, but I will project the screen I’m sharing on Zoom for them, so all students are seeing the same thing. Usually I love circulating when teaching in-person, helping each student at their desk. But I will need to rethink this in terms of how close I can get to students and also what that leaves my Zoom students with.
3. Energy is transferrable.
As a teacher, you need a TON of energy. And that energy totally comes from the students. I think this is a major reason why distance learning has been so tough on teachers. Being at the school with students today, I could feel hints of the energy I used to have, but it was also different. I also think being isolated for so long has made us slow down, so it’s going to take some time to ramp back up to the usual energy levels required at school.
If you have any recommendations for hybrid teaching, I’m all ears!
Yours on Zoom AND in-person,