Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Teaching to an Empty Room


Every time I do a first day of school, it's different. And every time I learn something new. 

And this year is so much different than any year that has come before. 

I am continuing the class that I was covering in summer school. Sort of. Instead of teaching English, I've been swapped into teaching math and science. (The principal discussed this with me during the summer session, and as I'm way more comfortable with math, I was quite happy to make the switch.) 

When the principal asked what books I wanted the kiddos to have, as they were putting together what they'd send home for each kiddo, I had no answer. Since we did the summer session virtually, I hadn't been to campus. What books were available? What did I have to work with. 

So, for the first time ever, I got prep time. . . 


Friday before school started, I went to campus. I got assigned a classroom, and I checked out a key. 


So, instead of scrambling on the first day of school, I had some time to set something up. I had time to look around the classroom and figure out what I had to work with. (For summer session I used an old summer school classroom photo. The photo above is of the actual classroom.) 

I'm still scrambling, of course, but it's not nearly as pronounced. The school had no chemistry textbooks, yet I have five chemistry students. I don't have access to the online component of the math textbooks yet. (I've seen what they have in other math classes I've covered.) And I was on my own to figure out lesson plans and such. 

But, I walked in on the first day knowing what I had to work with and having a plan for the kiddos. That's huge. 

Yes, walked in. I taught in an actual classroom on the first day of school. Of course, I was the only one there. . .

I live in Los Angeles County in California. Our Covid numbers are up, and the county has said no to in person school. We're teaching virtually. 

I don't know what each and every district is doing; I only know what my district is doing. We have a modified schedule. We meet online in Google Hangouts. And teachers have the option of working on campus or from home. 

The office staff is there. The principal is on campus. The instructional aides are working on some project. The janitorial staff is keeping it all clean. 

We have to wear masks, of course. They check our temperature when we get to school, and if we're going to be on campus, we need to do a "self check" before coming in. (If sick or possibly exposed, we're to stay home.) 

It's a balance between the familiar and the new normal. 

At least it'll keep the blog in stories. 

For the record, I'm working about half at school and half from home. I've been going in to get materials, and if I need to get materials, I might as well do my lessons from the classroom. They have the good air conditioning. I have a desk to work from. But if I have everything I need, I can sleep in another hour and do the lessons from home. 

We'll see if I keep going in. I haven't decided just yet. 

17 comments:

  1. We are definitely living in different times. I think the sleeping in option would win it for me :)

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  2. Hi Liz - I hope it all works out for everyone - but if you enjoy maths ... then good for you - take care - Hilary

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  3. At least you have options. Hopefully the students are tuning in. Or are able to.

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    1. We're a week in now, and most of them have made it. I have a couple that miss first period but make fourth. At least they can make part of the day; it's better than missing all of it.

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  4. sounds challenging. On Long Island we are going with a hybrid model, half in school and half remote, though I think some parents have the option to choose 100% remote learning for their children

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    1. It's different, that's for sure. I'm glad they can choose, for some kiddos need to get out, but some parents can't let their kiddos take the chance of catching it.

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  5. It is kind of like pastors doing online sermons preaching in an empty church. I kind of like the thought you can go into the classroom to teach if you so desire. Your numbers are up again? Ours are coming down quite nicely.

    Betty

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  6. My kids' school district announced today that they're starting the school year online (day after Labor Day). It was strange to read that, despite this, Boise schools have already had an uptick in covid cases despite not being in contact with students. Twenty-nine employees have confirmed cases. We'll see how that's going to work out.

    I hope the online schooling works out well for you as a teacher!

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    1. Well, if they're working together on campus, I could see how it could happen. I mean, we're being careful and all with masks and temperature checks, but if someone was on campus who was contagious, it could definitely go around.

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  7. Challenging for all teachers and I feel for you know, knowing a handful of teachers IRL, including one in Florida. In our New York State district, they went with a hybrid model but they announced on Sunday 3 staff members tested positive, and as of today it is up to 5 On a COVID support group I belong to for our county, there's a fair amount of discussion on this. Do I see them going fully online? No news yet on that. Again, I wish you the best. Our schools start Sept 14 (later than normal).

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    1. Yeah, they're pushing back start dates everywhere, I think. It gives them a bit more time to plan.

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  8. Wow. You actually went to a classroom. That does seem pretty huge given that Zoom-class seems to be the norm, as far as I've heard from my mommy pals. Be safe and well! x

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    1. Yeah, it's easier to teach from a classroom, even if the students are all at home.

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  9. What a great new adventure for you, Liz, with remote teaching. It must feel good to have your own classroom, with key, and to create your own lesson plans. Have lots of fun!

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  10. I like how you seem to be making the most out of these trying times. Be well!

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    1. I was last week. This week I kind of feel like I'm drowning.

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  11. That's right. Both have their pros and cons, though nothing like in-person class.
    Online, since many students don't switch on their camera (to save bandwidth, that's what they say), I get a feeling I talking to the laptop screen!
    Surely, this is an evolving scenario.

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