Thankful for the Busyness Today!

After a week off for term break, our virtual school resumed today. My work day began at 7:00am and finished a little after 9:00pm. To be honest, I’m tired and ready for bed, but more than anything, I’m thankful for the busyness of today. After nine days off, the days had started to run together, and by the end of the week, I couldn’t motivate myself to do anything. While this is a less than ideal situation, and I would 100% rather be in the classroom, I grateful for the routine of my virtual school day. I was excited to chat with my students again today, and while many of them were tired today from a week of staying up late and playing, I can tell they were glad to be back, too.

After our first three weeks of virtual school, we reflected as a leadership team, taking into account student, parent, and staff feedback about their experiences with online learning, and made some adjustments for this last term of school. We realized that it was unrealistic to expect primary students to attend virtual school all day like they would at real school. We scaled back the expectations, and now students have four homeroom learning days and one single-subject day. This means that on the four homeroom days, students take part in one lesson each of literacy, math, unit of inquiry, and PE per day. This is in addition to a morning message video, which may be pre-recorded or done as a morning meeting on ZOOM. We all do one ZOOM class meeting per homeroom day.

On their single-subject days, students have one lesson each of art, music, PE, library, Bahasa Indonesia or Mandarin, and Religion or Indonesian Studies. On the single-subject days, the homeroom teacher has time to plan and prep lessons for the rest of the week and give student feedback, as the only requirement is to post a morning message video and the daily learning overview with the students’ schedule. My single-subject day is on Wednesday, which is perfect for me. I can prep for Monday’s and Tuesday’s lessons on Sunday, and Thursday’s and Friday’s lessons on Wednesday. It’ll be nice to have a bit of a breather in the middle of the week, too. I hope that this new schedule is helpful for the students and that they no longer feel overwhelmed with everything they have to do.

Another change we’ve made is to be more mindful of screen time. We’ve encouraged teachers to assign more offline activities during virtual school so that they are not online all day. I know how being on a screen all day affects me, so I can’t imagine how the students must feel!

How’s virtual school going for you? Have you made any changes?

11 thoughts on “Thankful for the Busyness Today!

  1. livinglife816287820

    If only virtual school could happen here for me! All these free lessons and ideas floating around the internet and I can’t use any of them! After various thwarted attempts of trying to visit students one on one or in very small groups (we only have ten students per class), I decided that phoning students is going to be the only possible solution. So we are going to give that a go this week. Each teacher will phone a student at a set time every day and have a chat, let them know we’re here and care about them, get them talking in English for a little while and maybe throw in a few maths ideas and literacy or grammar stuff. I’m hoping the mobile network holds up and this will work and students will look forward to a daily chat with their teacher…That’s the plan!
    Glad you had a fruitful day and have resolved the workload issues for students. Would they speak English at all at home?

    Reply
  2. Noël

    We have offered enrichment activities and are just starting to develop our plan for new learning. I will learn from your experiences, as we are all in uncharted territory! Stay well!

    Reply
  3. pfornale

    Teachers and parents have shown true dedication–and developed an even deeper respect for each other. Teachers are sharing creative ideas for learning. This isn’t convenient for anyone, but inspiration does not lack.

    Reply
  4. mschiubookawrites

    These are smart changes. After about two hours online, my son is done. That’s when playing piano, taking walks and playing board games come in. I also really like the comment about calling students so they can have extended reciprocal conversation.

    Reply
    1. aggiekesler Post author

      I wish we could cut back even more, but with a for profit school, it’s tricky! The calls have been great…the connection makes it easier to get through the week.

      Reply

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