Distance Learning Professional Development

So my district has decided that in addition to the craziness created by switching everything to online learning, we are also required to do professional development. For any of my non-teaching followers this is the training that is supposed to help us do our jobs better. The interesting fact about most professional development is that it is usually grueling, uninteresting, and not helpful in the least. So my district sent out some options and because at my current stage in life I try and not procrastinate, I immediately started working on my hours. I have to complete six hours and each session I was sent count towards an hour.  The idea behind this is that the training is supposed to help us with distance learning but the thing is, yet again, the trainings are not geared at all for distance learning.  So far I have enjoyed the webinars that I have watched but I haven’t gained any skills that truly translate to distance learning.

It is so frustrating as an educator because my students aren’t getting what they need. I am forced to hound parents who I have no idea their current situations and I am forced to attempt to teach through assignments in Google Classroom and email. We are required to do four hours of Google Hangouts “office hours” of course the students don’t show up. I try and answer my students’ questions but sometimes they don’t even ask questions I can understand. They lack any specificity and any times they don’t even reference which assignment they don’t understand. I have been using Google Classroom all year but many of my students act like they don’t understand how to do basic functions within the programs. I can honestly say there isn’t any training out there that can prepare you to feel so helpless when it comes to students. I hope all these innovative people that think teaching is so useless and that school could be done on a computer realize that not all students can succeed in this environment.  Some of my best students are struggling the most right now. I have parents that have no idea how to encourage students to do work. I email students through their Google Accounts but let’s be honest, it only works if they are checking it. I feel unequipped to help my students in this environment and I don’t have the resources to help many of their parents. My district is already stressing that we need to do whatever we can to get as many students as we can across the finish line but right now I feel the struggle. I will be glad when we finally make a decision about our grading policy so that maybe our students will be more motivated to get stuff done.

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