It’s six in the morning, and I’ve been working at the computer for the last two hours. Covid-19 has changed our lives. Even for those who aren’t sick, or don’t know anyone who is. Some of this change is very difficult–people’s jobs and businesses are at risk.
My life is not changed so drastically. But I wanted to write about how the coronavirus changed my teaching, and that story started this week.
Spring Break was extended a week in order to give teachers time to plan for remote teaching and learning. It wasn’t until Monday morning, in the swirls of ever-changing edicts from the Ministry of Education, that we received our marching orders.
Our principal said that we are not going to turn into a school where isolated students perform fill-in-the-blank tasks to earn a grade; we will remain Abbotsford Christian School, we will just do that differently. This means “engaging hearts, nurturing minds and shaping God’s world.”
So now we have to figure out how to do that with our students. We need to have full class instruction, meaningful one-to-one conversations, and small group discussions. We need to create opportunities for them to do as well as think. This involves teachers learning new technologies with enough proficiency that we can teach students how to use them.
It involves a lot of clear communication with both parents and students. Today I will send out an email to the students, and their parents, in each of my four classes, informing them of the plan for next week. To write that letter, I need to know exactly what I am doing and how I am doing it. A tall order. I worked till 10 last night and woke up at 4 this morning to finish these letters.
Now that I know what I am doing, I will create the resources. For me, this will be making instructional videos, documents, and assignments. Thankfully, these don’t need to be done until Monday. So that’s the plan for the weekend.
In the middle of all this, I received an email from a student who had turned in an assignment that was 3 weeks overdue. They said, “I handed in my assignment yesterday and I was wondering why my mark still indicates it’s missing.”
I would have been able to get all this work done without getting up so early, but today is grocery day. I used to go to the grocery store almost daily. Now we don’t even go every week. Shopping also now includes parents who are isolating themselves in their homes. Two weeks ago, this took half the day.
The rest of this school year will be a lot different than we expected–for me, it will mean a lot of time in front of the computer. For my students too, I expect. I am excited by this challenge. And I am confident that, although my student’s social lives might take a bit of a beating, their education, and I use that term in a broad sense, will not.