Colleagues

I was missing my colleagues today so I called one of my closet friends at school. We had a great conversation and I realized that we are both struggling with many of the same feelings. We are both bored and irritated by the neediness of our students. I have used an online platform in my classes for many years now so it is difficult to understand why my students are struggling with using Google Classroom. Google Classroom is relatively easy to use and I still don’t understand why many of my students are struggling to use it. Our administrators want us to provide our students with video instructions for each of our online assignments. I have a hard time understanding why we need to record videos when my students don’t even listen to the things I say in class. I want all my students to be successful but I wish they would just read the directions provided on the various assignments. Many of the questions I have received are actually in the directions if my students could be bothered to pay attention and read them.

I am not really looking forward to having PLC’s again starting on Monday or the fact that we now have to have all assignments posted by 7pm every Sunday night.  I am still wondering how we are going to give our students grades for the rest of the year. The district has given us many guidelines about how to post assignments but they still haven’t told us how or if we are going to be giving grades for the rest of the year. Oh well I guess only time will tell.

Uncertainty

So as of now we are supposed to return to work on April 6th. Of course after Betsy Price’s announcement this morning issuing a “Stay at Home” order I really doubt we will be returning. It is so weird to think about the possibility that we won’t be going back to school this year. I can honestly say that I am not missing my students a whole lot but it does seem sad that I won’t see them again this year.

The other uncertainty in my life is about what I am going to be doing next year. I will either be teaching Dual Credit English or possibly working in a curriculum department which would be my dream job.

My poor son was able to visit two colleges before all this Coronavirus thing has shutdown the whole world. I was hoping we would be able to eliminate a college or two this spring but it doesn’t seem like that would be possible.

I am thankful that my relationship and my kids are at least one bright spot in my life. I am in love and happy with my boyfriend. I am thankful for my beautiful children. It is weird for the four of us to be together all the time but so far we are handling it well.

Directions

When did it become such an issue for students to read and understand written directions. I know that many of my students would require me to repeat directions in class because they weren’t paying attention but now it seems like they can’t understand written directions either. I feel like my students don’t understand how to read and follow simple directions. Then there are the stupid questions that I can’t even answer because they don’t give me enough information to know what their question is asking. I know that online classes are not exactly easy but I also know that you can’t just act stupid and think that you won’t be required to finish assignments.  Starting next week my students will be required to complete all the assignments for grades.  I wonder how some of these students will deal with that.  I am doing my best to help my students but right now I feel like they aren’t really trying to do their part. I know that I am just frustrated right now and by tomorrow I will probably feel better about all this but right now I am just frustrated with the whole process.

Being Available

It is such an odd situation to be waiting for someone to need you. I posted all my lessons yesterday so now I am just waiting for my superiors or my students to email with something to do. I would love to say I am bored but I am not sure that is really the case. I have been glued to the John Hopkins’s map about the virus and the way the cases keep jumping up everyday.

Coronavirus Map

I listen to audio books and play games with my boyfriend and kids.    It’s like my life is in some sort of holding pattern. I guess everyone across the country feels the same way. I know we have to be available to our jobs but it is such an odd existence. I still can’t believe this is really happening in real life. I still can’t fathom how we could all be quarantined in our homes because of an infectious virus. I know that we will eventually be on the other side of this situation but I wonder what life will be like by then. Will we go back to business as usual or will we all be forever changed? I worry about my son’s summer plans and how this will influence my daughter’s first year of college. I am lucky though because my boyfriend and I are in this together through thick and thin which reassures me. My kids and I are so lucky to have him.  We are truly a family which is such a relief after all these years as a single mom. Oh well my break is over and it is time to get back to being available to my students!!

Day 2 Interacting with Students Electronically

So I have been teaching my classes electronically now for two days.  I have been answering all sorts of emails from students and been consistently reminded by the powers that be that we are still getting paid so we need to make sure we are available during school hours.  The funny thing is that most of my kids aren’t even contacting me during school hours.  I have seen kids turning in assignments at all hours of the day and night. I am doing my best to be available to my students but I think it would be more beneficial if our students had a specific window of time designated for questions. My son’s school has been doing that and it seems to be a better option.  I think the district fails to realize that a lot of these kids are not going to be up before noon so they aren’t going to be asking questions in the mornings.

The questions that I am getting are a little ridiculous. Some of my students are acting like they have never done an assignment on Google Classroom and aren’t sure where they are supposed to go for information. I reorganized my Classwork page this morning so that it was extremely obvious where students need to go for their assignments. I have no idea how this experience is going to play out but I am trying to remain as positive as possible. It is so weird to be home everyday but I am still working and interacting with students.

I am also have to make sure my own child is taking care of all of his assignments for school as well.  I know College Board is developing a plan so that students can still get credit for their AP classes which is a relief for me after paying for three tests back in October. My son hasn’t been too bad so far but we will see how things go as the time progresses.

My older child is in college and her school goes to an online format as of March 30th. I am extremely curious how that will go for her trying to finish out her freshman year of college.

I know that eventually we will all be able to get back to normal but what kind of normal will it be? Will we be required to have a contingency plan every year now in the event that something happens in the world that causes mass hysteria and panic to people? Will we be required to utilize more digital resources so that students can seamlessly go from classroom instruction to online instruction? As an educator things seem to change all the time but for now I will take things one day at a time.

E-Learning

I completed my master’s degree online through University of Texas at Arlington. I also completed a Dual Credit English Certification online through Sam Houston State University. Although I was able to complete these programs through e-learning I have never had to teach that way.

Now I am trying to improvise and change my way of teaching into an online format. My district is asking us to post enrichment lessons that we aren’t allowed to take grades for which means that technically there is no real way to hold the students accountable for the assignments. We are being asked to be available every day during school hours to answer questions for our students. We are also being told to make contact with the parents’ of the students that aren’t completing the assignments that we can’t hold them accountable for. I realize that these are difficult times and although it is a crazy situation, I am actually happy to be working again. I am not sure if we will be able to return to school on March 30th like it is currently planned but I do hope at some point we are able to do more than just post enrichment lessons.

I am actually really proud of the students that have already participated in the enrichment activities and have checked in with me.

Utter Chaos

I am not even sure how to react or respond to the state of our world at the moment. We are dealing with things in the world that have never occurred in our lifetime. Businesses are closing the governments of the world are imposing travel restrictions on its citizens and others. School is closed and as of now we are not even sure when or if that is going to change for the rest of the school year. Stores are running out of stock of all sorts of items that people deem necessary for survival.

We are in uncharted territory as we get up everyday waiting to hear the latest news and see what new things our government has to share. We honestly don’t know how our lives will be each day as we wake up. We don’t know how long we will be asked to practice social distancing.

I wonder about the health of my children and my mother. I wonder about the outcome of the COVID-19 test that was done on my aunt who is in the ICU with pneumonia. I can only hope that a few months from now we will be able to look at this situation with relief that it is over and that life is getting back to normal. To all of us across the world we need to hold on to those we love and hang on until this situation passes.