DW has 19 yrs teaching experience in elementary & middle school & is licensed in every core area. He's published 9 YA Novels.
Finishing 2019-2020, and 2020-2021 so far
4th School Quarter 2020 - Going Remote
The 105th day of the school year might seem an odd place to start when deciding to revive my old "Tales of the Exhausted Educator" blog here on HubPages. TotEE once appeared on an independent blog but over time I became busy with my new teaching position at my new private school and my writing. Also, there were a few years when I didn't feel like an exhausted educator any longer.
COVID-19 came along and changed all that. Last March 13, 2020 (Yes, it was a Friday the 13th), we left school thinking we'd all be back together on Monday. Over the weekend we got the news. We were going remote. The school would be closed Monday the 16th and Tuesday the 17th for us to convert to a remote learning model for the 4th quarter of the year. Google Classroom became my best friend.
For the next 10 weeks, we put in 12 to 14 hour days, 7 days a week, reworking our lesson plans, digitizing our assignments, being online for our students during normal school hours, figuring out how to grade student work, learning to live-stream, and striving to keep our students motivated to continue their learning. Unlike many of our colleagues in the public school system hereabouts, we did not throw up our hands and basically give up. Our students were held to the same standards they would have had to meet had they been in school.
Parents and students learned their way around Google Classroom, Google Forms, Google Docs, pdf files, how to attached photos of completed work to Google Classroom assignments and emails, and how to participate in live-streamed lessons via Google Meets. I know this is beginning to sound like a Google advertisement, but they did come through for us in a big way during those weeks and months.
I learned how to videotape my lessons and post them as Materials under the Classroom Classwork tab, how to set up Google Forms to grade student work for me (though I always double-checked), and the students and I held a live-streamed reading circle on Google Meets every school day.
Was it worth the effort? Yes, every single one of my students completed the curriculum and advanced to the next grade.
Would I want to do it again? No, thank you. It was an experience and I now know I could do it again if I had to, but I'd just as soon not.
So, you ask, what about this school year?
2020-2021 So Far
After much work, preparation, furniture rearranging, discussion between parents, teachers, and administration, we opened for in-person classes in late August 2020. We utilized every space in the building, including the cafeteria, the library, and the gym as classroom space in order to ensure the students, who would be required to be masked at all times, could be seated six-feet from their nearest neighbor. This meant dividing each grade into two cohorts.
Dividing the classes into cohorts meant having two teachers for each class. I was the 4th Grade lead teacher. I taught both groups the core subjects of Math, Reading, Writing, and Religion (a core subject at our parochial school). I also wrote the lesson plans for and checked all the grading done by my co-teacher. She presented the lessons for Social Studies, Science, Vocabulary, and Grammar. We were divided this way for the 1st quarter.
Eventually, due to students whose parents decided to home-school or take advantage of our distance learning option, we were able to move some of the grades into 1 room while maintaining the required distance between desks. Both my co-teacher and I continued to teach the subjects we'd taught while divided, but with the other teacher on hand to help answer questions and monitor behavior, things went swimmingly for the second quarter.
Now, we are into the third quarter and Covid fatigue is beginning to settle in on all of us, students, teachers, and parents alike. I think we are blessed, though. Our students are still diligent about wearing their masks and wearing them correctly. They keep their distance the majority of the time. And to date, there has not been a single positive Covid case that has been traced back to the school. For this we are eternally grateful and pray our blessings hold out.
For now, I remain educationally yours,
The Exhausted Educator
© 2021 DW Davis
gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on February 11, 2021:
I apologize you for my previous comment. Later on I realized my words sounded harsh.
During this lockdown period I used to get phones from a teacher where I had worked together.
His first call sounded frustration. 2nd call more frustration. Because he didn't get salary. He had to pay his room rent every month. Next he had to feed his wife and two daughters.
I could not visit him in person to listen him first. Becaused I myself had been hospitalized for 13 days in mid-August 20. Later on, I caould really walk with ease only from 2nd of November onwards.
As time passed his voice on the phone showed confidence. Now he is fine in his feelings and dealings with the outside world.
Next, I visited 6 schools with young lad of 19 with the hope of getting volunteer placement for him. We were not successful. Because though the schools are open, students turn up seems to be only 10%.
I got the information from the headmastes that they are unable to collect fees. Reason no income of the parents.
So, situation seems to be same around the world. Still then, I believe our hope can keep us focused to strive forward.
I taught in a charity school for 3 years. Now I do not teach. I am off from teaching job for the last 3 years.
However, I value education and I respect teachers who belong to any part of the world.
Again with my apology I end my comment.
gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on February 10, 2021:
I can only pray for you and America Only that much, DW Davis.