Seeing the Positives

I think that over the past two months there has been so much focus on the negative situations and events regarding schools transitioning to remote learning that we need to start realizing that some really good things came from it too.

Yes, there have been several things taken away from us as teachers and our students that can only take place in a traditional school. These things include field trips, field days, graduation, simply seeing a student “get it,” face-to-face communication, hugs, proms, and the list can go on and on. I think though, that there have been some positives that have come out of this situation that we should definitely remember.

As teachers we have always put our students’ well being first, but I think that remote learning has made even us go above and beyond what we were doing before. We have had to deeply consider our students home lives and how it affects their learning. We’ve had to consider variables and whether they’re able to partake at all in remote learning. And even though we also provide paper packets, not every student is able to complete that form of work either at no fault of their own. We also have to consider their parents lives and whether they’re able to help their child learn at home. Most parents work jobs or are single parents and it isn’t possible to get everything their child needs to get done at home done. I think we really need to consider going into the future that we will always have some students that will be unable to participate in any remote learning. With that being said, I think that a lot of GRACE and COMPASSION is going around in the education community and we need to continue that same grace when we return to our traditional classrooms.

This leads to more emphasis on social emotional learning as well. SEL is a topic that I’m still learning about and would like to learn more about. I think the development in the interest of the topic is directly related to the COVID school closures. After all, our students will not be successful if we do not make sure the WHOLE child is taken care of.

There has also been an emphasis on self care for everyone. Teachers have been encouraged to not try to do too much or push themselves too hard. We all know we are guilty of doing that regardless if the learning is traditional or remote. We as teachers need to learn to slow down. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. As much as we want to and do take care of our students, we have to take care of ourselves first to be the best teacher we can be for them.

In my experience, some students THRIVE in this online environment. Some students that were shy in the classroom are in their element during this time. I’ve even had students who have taken up coding and have taught me some things. I think we really need to realize how important student choice is. Yes, we always do our best to give students choices in their learning, but I think this has been very eye opening that we need to try to give them even more choice to pursue their interests when we return to the school buildings. So much authentic learning can take place in an online environment with research and pursuing interests. I think it’d be a shame not to put more of that into place in our classrooms in the future.

Even though Β face-to-face communication isn’t taking place, there is still communication going on. Messages, phone calls, etc. is all happening with students and parents. I really think it’s helped us realize that parents and teachers really are a TEAM in our students learning.

I also think people have somewhat realized how much teachers do. I’m not saying this because I am a teacher. Remember, I never planned to be a teacher, so when I became one, I quickly realized that teachers do far more than I ever realized. This is for my fellow teachers who are rockstars! I am loving all the praise that they are receiving from the public. I hope this continues and we continue to emphasize just how important teachers are.

I’m sure there are more positives I could think of that has come from this unfortunate situation we are in, but these are off the top of my head. I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe!

 

-Mrs. Kaldahl

 

My Thoughts on Distance Learning

This year has been so different from any other year that I have taught.

I mean we went on Spring Break and never went back!

The things happening in the world have drastically affected education. Our teacher hearts broke the day they announced that schools would be closed through the end of the year. Believe me, we would rather it be this way than risk a single of our kids or co-workers getting sick. But, this is the time we as teachers look forward to every year.

We work the first half of the year teaching routines and procedures. It takes until Christmas to get everything flowing right. After Christmas break we have to get them back on track. Sometimes it seems like we will never get there, but we somehow always do. This leads us to our golden time with our students. This is when we have solidified our relationships with our students. We have truly become a family.

As a class family we look forward to all of the fun end of the year things we get to do together. Like field trips, field day, more fun units of study, etc. This year we don’t get any of that. It’s not just about that though. As I said, this is the time we truly become a family. The kids that enter our classroom each day truly become OUR KIDS. We miss them. We miss making sure they’re okay, seeing them learn, and watching them grow.

It is sad that these moments were taken from us.

I hope that once all this is over with, people remember how much teachers truly care about their kids. You will rarely meet a teacher who is just in it for the paycheck. It’s always about the kids.

With state testing being cancelled for this school year, I hope that state legislatures realize that we don’t need mandated testing for students to learn. Teachers don’t need them to tell them what to teach. We know what our kids need and it’s not teaching to a test.

I hope we never take for granted any school day, the hugs we get from students, the conversations with co-workers, or the daily hustle of it all.

I can say without a doubt I would much rather be teaching in my classroom than doing distance learning and I can’t wait until the day we get back to normal.