If you had told me that the 20-21 school year would be full of surprises, I would have believed you. If you had told me I’d be teaching online halfway through the spring semester, I might have laughed. And yet, here we are. A global pandemic (yes, I know it is redundant), a cultural panic, a paradigm shift, and suddenly, I have transitioned to online learning.
As long as the technology holds out, I am confident I can make the shift. I am not so sure about my students who not only have to move from face-to-face classes once a week with me, but also have to transition their own classrooms to digital, without the training and resources they need.
I view my job this week as being support for my students and a place where they can express their frustration and fears without worrying about the consequences. The content will eventually take care of itself, but for the new and prospective teachers who sit in my classroom, confidence is shaken. Do I really need to talk about writers’ workshops? Not really. There’s plenty for them to read and experience with later, when this COVID 19 crisis is over. And it will be over.
One bright spot in all this is the suspension of high-stakes testing by many districts. We who are educators know how pointless and stressful these assessments are for everyone, and I can only hope that they will not return once this is over. I am so impressed by the education community and how so many teachers have been able to turn on a dime to keep their students learning. Maybe this will be the beginning of new respect for the teaching profession, and just maybe, teachers will be given their autonomy back so that they can do what they’re trained to do, what they love to do, and what they know how to do better than any corporation or publisher.
I can dream.