It seems sometimes that the world has ceased to spin. Some of us got to explain why we are shifting to emergency distance learning to our students, and some of us got the news over the weekend after saying see you Monday that Friday to our students– our kids. Some of our districts are mandating full 8-hour workdays. Some are switching to no-grade assessments. Some are asking teachers to meet virtually once a week with students, while others have taken a hiatus from learning and instead requested that teachers create distance-learning packets to be mailed out with food.
What we learned so far in this tumultuous time is that:
- What we knew about inequity has come to the surface. The varying levels of access– including none at all– have made this transition all the more difficult.
- Teachers are rockstars. Few teachers that I know had any experience teaching online, yet within two weeks, teachers adjusted to the paradigm shift and made it work. We always make it work for our kids.
- Some students have blossomed in online environments, while some have floundered. Some simply can’t get online. Some students are dealing with lack of motivation, while some are dealing with the deaths in their families associated with COVID 19 or otherwise. Some are dealing with toxic home environments of mental and physical abuse, while others are dealing with parents who, with the best intent in mind, are putting too much pressure on our young minds to succeed, to learn, to prosper despite *everything.* All of these situations, among others, are valid. All of these situations, among others, are real and hard and make learning during this time gosh darn near impossible. At least as compared to if we had our students face to face.
- All of us have experienced “Zoom burnout” at one point or another.
- All of us have experienced just.being.tired.of.everything at one point or another.
- We have recognized that it is okay to not be okay. It is okay that our teaching at this time is not perfect. It is okay to “let go” of assignments, and to not put on makeup for Zoom meetings, and to sit our kids in front of a screen for a little longer than we’d like to so that we can get our work done. We continue to tell our colleagues and students to give themselves grace, but have a hard time following our own advice as we beat ourselves up for the what ifs and the how-can-I-help and the continued connectedness.
I could go on, but I don’t want this post to end up as just.another.coronavirus post. What I want to communicate with you all, our MAMLE membership and beyond, is that we are all doing our best, and if you can see any kind of support measure as helpful, please contact us.
If you would like access to some neat augmented reality and/or Hyperdoc activities for your students, here is a Google Drive with some of the ones my preservice teachers created to donate to schools: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=1jJZ0BtIly28MAF9ijGz5JU9rBosaABca
I would like to end this post in two ways. First, I want to let you know that we are working as a board to come up with contingency plans for our October 2020 conference. Our main goal is to keep everyone safe. We do not know what the future holds in regards to the virus, but please be assured (and stay patient) that we will adjust our conference format as needed to ensure your safety, and will communicate any changes that we make as soon as we can.
Finally, I want to remind you that WE SEE YOU. We know that you are working hard. Thank you. We know that THIS is hard. Thank you. We know that our middle school students are working hard. Thank you. Not everyone’s fight looks the same, but we are working hard to get through this together. Thank you for being the rockstars you already were.