Teacher appreciation week is really learner appreciation week this year. In the past 2 months my job has been completely redesigned. The learning curve for this teacher in my 30th year in the classroom has skyrocketed at a rate I am not sure I can keep up with.
This past week New York’s Governor Cuomo announced that schools in New York are closed for the remainder of the school year. Cuomo also said he was planning to join forces will billionaire Bill Gates to reimagine education. It’s not the first time state governments have thought Bill Gates has all the answers. Ten years ago Common Core was implemented in almost every state and funded solely by Gates.
Other than headaches for parents and teachers, no positive results have been shown on national tests due to the Common Core standards.
Cuomo suggested in his address to the state on Tuesday that the old model of students sitting in physical classrooms isn’t necessary with all the technology we have.
Just tell that to all the parents who have suddenly found themselves doing their jobs from home while home schooling their children with technology. From what I am hearing the challenges for parents with young children are unprecedented and I am not sure how much learning is actually going on.
For years we have been implementing technology in our schools. My thesis that I wrote in 1992 for my masters degree was titled “Restructuring education using technology”. And in the past 30 years many advances and programs have been enriched with access to the internet for information, individualized practice based on each child’s ability and improved delivery of information for educators.
But there is much more at risk if we lose our school classrooms.
What about social development for young children? What about learning through play? What about learning how to cooperate in small groups? What about learning by interacting with a teacher and debating with classmates.
What happened to the argument that children should be limited in their screen time? Parents are rightfully upset that their children are spending so much time being required to sit in front of computer screens.
My learning these past 8 weeks have included multiple challenges with emails and attachments, Google meets (like a Zoom meeting) with 17 – 5 year olds. Following up with phone calls and group emails, posting assignments in a Google classroom, posting more attachments to link to multiple sources, posting photos to keep connected on our class Instagram page, sending snail mail so kids feel special getting something in their mailbox, being bombarded daily with new programs to enhance my students’ learning experience. Until last month I’d never heard of using Flipgrids, nearpods, Vimeo’s, screencastify and EdPuzzle but I can sign up to learn how to use them now. I haven’t yet but I am considering it. And also we are being asked to come back soon and clean up the abandoned classroom, write a report card and help with placement for each child in next year’s class. I will do what I can and learn what I can – this is all new to all of us.
When I have a moment, I will use my phone to videotape myself reading books and post the read alouds in my Google classroom. I will schedule Meets on line so the kids can see me and their friends. We will play guessing games and take turns sharing about our adventures at home. This week I even tried to teach them how to draw a picture of themselves with their mom for Mother’s Day.
As I prompted them to draw what type of hair their mom has, it reminded Sunday will be the first Mother’s Day that I don’t have a mom here on Earth. Grief is never far away.
I remember how last year on Mother’s Day my mom posted on Facebook the beautiful cards and flowers she had received. She bragged about hearing from all her children and how that made her so happy. If your mom is still here this year, be sure to let her know how special she is.
And for all my readers who are moms enjoy your day. If you are not being pampered, be sure to find a way to spend some time doing what brings you joy. You deserve it! ❤️