A workplace is the best place to work: Like so many others, my workplace and my home become one for the first time. I hadn’t foreseen the vagueness of the roles that went with it. I was sometimes in spouse / parent mode while simultaneously answering questions about an assignment. During e-learning, if students had to wait until I could become exclusively their teacher again, they should have waited.
Students enjoy working on computers, and aspects of this way of working should be maintained: Many students who would never have completed their work on paper were among the first to submit the same task via an online tool or quiz. These students are sending us a clear message: in 2020, we need to do more to welcome the tech learner.
Students must be introduced to the concept of transferable skills: They may have perfected selfies, but they still have a long way to go to snap a photo of written work. Their mastery of filters means that they themselves can look so perfect that they are unrecognizable (often literally), and yet the homework is sideways or skewed, and almost certainly not entirely readable.
Some students have come out of the shadows: As the more socially oriented struggled online, a whole new regiment of dominant students emerged, ready to type in chat box contributions they would never have dared to say out loud in class. Likewise, the shy students participated with the camera off in a whole new way, and for the first time, it was they who thrived. I hope we don’t lose all of that now that we’re back in class.
At school, although we all put on masks, I know exactly who is there, even if they are not all listening!
What takes hours for a teacher to prepare takes minutes for a student to submit: There isn’t a teacher in the country who is actively engaged in e-learning who will tell you otherwise. We research, verify, proofread and then review work from a student’s perspective to anticipate how it will be read to them. What about the students? Well, they’ve got many years of quick clicks behind them so that’s what they do. But until now, their clicks were for trivial matters, and although this is now an academic assessment, their old speed-clicking habits die hard. Gradually, students learn to slow down, due to a series of unusually poor results directly related to not knowing what was needed before taking the plunge.
The importance of knowing my audience: All I knew for sure in the spring was that an individual had logged in. Online classes at our school tended to be without cameras. When they were in front of their devices for a “live” online lesson with their microphones and cameras turned off, they could have been anyone, or have been with anyone, or even any number of people. There was a different distrust in me about gifts and jokes, which I’m prone to. In the online class, I just didn’t feel so comfortable with it. At school, although we all put on masks, I know exactly who is there, even though they aren’t all really listening!
Online education is an isolated existence and has brought positive and negative: A huge plus point is that school politics and drama can be both out of sight and out of mind. During this term, I did my job, stepped out of trouble, and maintained only the positive side of adult-school relations: a courteous professional commitment to those who are just colleagues and colleagues. frequent and edifying contacts with those who are above all my friends.
They clearly associate the need to comply with Covid regulations with the authority of teachers rather than with safety and public health
It is the same for the students: the cream rises to the top. What has not been delivered, simply has not been delivered. I always wrote a message to follow and to remember, which usually generated a cheerful response promising work soon. Sometimes it happened and sometimes it didn’t but there was no aggro, no tension and even less emotional energy wasted in vain. No doubt the students felt exactly the same.
For students, wearing a mask is easy; social distancing is tough: Now that we are back in the real world, the learning continues: Mask respect among students in classrooms is phenomenally high. Once they are “free, that is to say outside the learning environment, their capacity for social distancing is worrying. They clearly associate the need to comply with Covid regulations with the authority of teachers rather than with safety and public health.
Watch out for those who wear glasses: Students reluctant to wear their glasses to school have always been a concern, but it’s a problem on a whole new level now. Wearers should be careful and remember not to compromise their eye health due to the real difficulty of managing glasses and a mask. The stairs are dangerous in a whole new way because of the masks, which should be pointed out to young people who rush everywhere, often carrying heavy bags!
Students may care more than we think: Am I glad to be back? Of course I am. Just yesterday I checked back with my fifth year old to see how things were going for them with all the changes. When I heard and noticed a few ways they thought things could be a little easier, two students started talking at the same time. It turned out that they both wanted to check out if there was anything they could do as a class to make things easier for me. What’s not to love about being back?