Welp, I could talk about Betsy Devos and her “not a matter of if” statement today.
I could take about President Trump and how he’s going to “put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools”,
Nope, today, we are going local.
I had a teacher friend who is working hard to make sure that their classroom is readily available to students in the fall if need be. This teacher is creating a “digital classroom” with Google Slides and their Bitmoji. They are in their classroom with links to a morning message along with a number of different things that students could click through for their day. They said they’d read about this on a website somewhere and thought it would be a great thing for their classroom. What a great way to introduce students to the room and if we go to a hybrid or an online learning environment, this would be their starting point. Sounds like a great idea, right?
If you thought this, you are correct. During a PLC meeting to talk about school things, one instructional coach told this teacher to “not put too much work into this” because there should be a uniform look to all digital classrooms.
While I agree, the same platform should be used (and according to this teacher it is), why can’t teachers add their personalities to digital learning? This is where, if we are online learning, those relationships should be built. What better way than some creativity with your digital classroom?
But, I also understand the need to keep kids safe from the dangers of a learning system that’s gone bad:
- Google Classroom, a hot bed of crazy people.
- Canvas, Satan worshippers and wack coders.
- Schoology, witches and people who use *gasp* letter grades
Needless to say, this has devolved into a nonsense, but my point being: Why are we not trusted to do our best with our students? We are all nervous, anxious, and down right angry about the various “return to learn” plans. However, we as educators are also looking at how to do things better for ALL students. Creating that atmosphere is SO important. Here’s a teacher going out of their way to do so and they are called out to be more uniform.
It’s no wonder we all have lots of gray hairs.
And finally, something I just came across. Who is paying for the PPE, the hand sanitzer, and everything that going into Covid classroom?
Betsy and President Trump, I’ll look for your replies tomorrow!
July 8, 2020 at 6:27 am
I love your hashtags! I don’t envy any teacher having to begin this next school year, but I know teachers are flexible and tenacious, so I know students will be fine. Can you imagine this being a new teacher’s first year?
July 8, 2020 at 12:02 pm
I am lucky to have worked in a district that developed a uniform slide deck for each grade level and subject (still in awe that they did that) that allowed room for teacher personalization, and even tweaked them along the way with teacher and parent input. It’s sad that your colleague got called out; she’s trying to make the best of an awful situation, and should have been lauded for that, instead. I have many of the same questions you do, and then some–I’m a school librarian…
July 8, 2020 at 1:23 pm
Oh, what a difficult time to be an educator. I am pleased that you have this safe space to express your concerns. Please know that those of us no longer in the classroom will be pulling and praying for those of you who are.
July 9, 2020 at 7:27 am
Teachers are planners, list makers, organizers. We anticipate everything that can go wrong and have a workaround for it in advance. We look at things from every angle and choose the best path for our students every minute of every day. If they want a uniform look, they can’t wait until August 30th to tell us. That’s not fair. I think July 30th is too late also.
July 10, 2020 at 1:01 pm
Ah! Your post has touched a nerve in me as it has in you! I am so against the one-size-fits-all classroom because it just doesn’t fit anyone’s needs. Teachers need to teach to their strengths and be trusted that they know what they’re doing. And, teachers need to trust our instincts. If we are constantly told our classroom needs to look and feel like the classroom next door how will we ever discover our teacher selves? How will we ever become the teacher our current students need us to be? How will we ever fight against unjust mandates and policies? Ugh! Don’t get me started, but thanks for getting this conversation going.
July 10, 2020 at 5:19 pm
As someone who taught exclusively online for six years before returning to the classroom, I can tell you that the customization and personalization of digital classroom spaces is absolutely ESSENTIAL to building relationships with students and, not surprisingly, their success in your classroom. While the platform should stay consistent so that usage is consistent and simple, students absolutely need a way to see that there is a teacher who is a real and caring human being there in the process with them- not just a computer program using algorithms to assess and issue grades. We spent a good deal of time training in this very fact every year, and the teachers who were most successful online teachers (including me) spent a tremendous amount of time and energy creating there friendly, personalized, and welcoming spaces. Did people think they had trouble get kids engaged with rushed distance learning in the spring? Those were kids we had been teaching for more than half a year already. Imagine what those relationships will be like with students you have never met! Very few of us will be fortunate enough to teach kids we already know face to face this fall, and if we need to be part or full time online educators, then we had darn well better be allowed to personalize and use every tool at our disposal as creatively and innovatively as we, the actual teachers with skill and experience, deem fit!