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Saturday, August 29, 2020

Distance Teaching: Week 2 Reflections

We just ended week 2 of Distance Learning in Santa Clara County.

I’ve learned a few more pros/cons:

Pro: I’m able to collaborate more with other professionals more than I have ever been able to. I’m able to meet 15 minutes before class to discuss progress with my IAs (unheard of in a school day). 

Pro: challenging behaviors can be managed more creatively. The other day, a student put inappropriate music on in class. It was easy to mute the student’s audio and then either go into a breakout room to discuss or discuss after class.

Pro: I enjoy Canvas as a platform. It allows me to do more with curriculum planning and it migrated my grades to our school platform. It also emails me when students submit work.

Pro: I have much more time in the day to call parents, students, and to document case management notes.

Pro: I feel like lesson plans can be more dynamic with the technology available. I can switch from sharing my screen to speaker view, put an online timer easily, and show student work easily since I have dual screens. It’s also easy to model.

And, some Cons.

Con: it is harder to help students with special needs. Typically I can sit down next to a student, engage in light conversation, and steer them to do an assignment with me. Now, I have to go in a breakout room, share my screen (which expands onto theirs), and hope that they’re following along. 

Con: I feel the tech gap. Students have connectivity issues. Their chrome books heat up. You name it. I feel fortunate that we were able to get a used iMac for my daughter. Working on a chrome book is hard. The screen is small and the connectivity can be slow. 

Con: it is very, very hard to juggle teaching with having your children at home. My eldest daughter is in distance learning and has questions or challenges throughout the day. My toddler wants to sit on my lap the whole day. As a family and as a Mom we need to plan for lunch, cleaning the kitchen as we go, and random house errands since the house seems to get messier since we are all at home. 

Con: I need to remind myself to strike a balance between students mental health and curriculum demands. I think I assigned way too many assignments the first week (we did a daily assignment and they had an assignment to do for homework “on their own”). Many students couldn’t complete the work and they have missing assignments in the grade book. Yet at the same time, sometimes I feel like I’m jipping them because we only meet twice a week and consequently there is a huge content limitation. I absolutely cannot get through all of the curriculum that I have deemed “essential” in my head. I have to be okay with that. I know everyone is a little stressed with learning a new platform and also attempting to do most of the assignments on their own. But I also want their education to be “quality” so I’m always trying to make a rational decision as to what we will do that day. 

What leaps or hurdles have you encountered in distance learning/teaching? I would love to hear them. 

- Kristine 

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LINK for CTA Session 1 & 2

Session 1 Here! Session 2 Here!  Link to Folder