COVID-19 Teaching Diary Day 2: Small Victories

I just got off a video call with a student and his mom. I'm honestly wary about how to maintain boundaries in this new era of remote learning. It feels harder now that I'm doing so much texting, e-mailing, calling, and video chatting with students and families. Still, this was a call that was worth it for the small victory it gave me to celebrate.

There has been a lot to feel disheartened by this past week. Those who know me also know I tend to find faults in my teaching easier than I do strengths to celebrate. We've connected 25 out of our 33 third graders to Google Classroom, but only six joined the morning and afternoon video calls today.  I had hoped to see an upward trend from yesterday.

But back to celebrating for a moment.

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I called this student's family, because after seeing him yesterday morning for our "morning meeting" on Google hangout, I haven't seen him on subsequent calls. Some of his work is being completed, but not as much as I expected.

This is a kid who can be very disruptive at times in the classroom, but one on one it's easier to see he's just a lovable rascal. Just the opportunity to have some face time with him was wonderful.

I showed him how to use Google calendar to find the meetings I set up. I showed him how to access different assignments. When I tried to help him access another online learning platform called i-Ready we hit a snag. But through trial and error it turned out it was just an issue of the display settings on his chromebook. It was such a minor fix, and I don't consider i-Ready immensely important to this boy's educational or social emotional well-being, but when we figured it out together I almost cried.

So much of what we're facing in this moment feels immense. Perhaps even insurmountable. I still have huge concerns about how we're going to achieve anything resembling equity via this remote learning experiment. It felt so good to be useful in this moment, even if it was with a minor issue.

His mom confided in me that she has felt a lot of stress from the remote learning thus far. She felt like a bunch of technology and other resources were thrust in her hands, and she was expected to figure it all out with little to no support. I know that she is not alone in feeling this way. Countless families and teachers and students are feeling similarly.

I know we will have to rely on strategies we used today to fix this minor technological issue a lot in the coming weeks. We will need to be patient, persistent, and work together. I hope in doing so we'll have a lot more victories to celebrate.


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