I am starting to feel the stress of “Dynamic Online “Learning.” I put “Learning” in quotes because I don’t know what “Learning” is happening. Calm down purists! I am being sarcastic. I got your jargon: summative / formative … I got it. Yes. Learning is happening..
We just completed three days of Professional Development using “Distance “Learning.” All via zoom.
On Thursday, when we got done at 3:00pm, I was whipped. I mean … drained. I thought, “this is what it is going to be like for the next 18 weeks?” I then thought, “What about our students? What the hell are they going to feel at the end of every day?”
And by God, I felt the same way at the end of the day Friday and now … today! I get home and I am just numb. I never wanted to have a job in tech! I never wanted to have a job in a cubicle, which is how I feel in my band room / band room office is. It’s a lovely cubicle. Lots of space. Better than your average cubicle.
Something else today got me thinking because I saw it in action. There are the teachers who have children at home! Duh. Watching those teachers having to keep their children busy as they are teaching your children. How is that gonna feel come September? I would imagine = Exhausting! Wow!
I am not going to “blame” our district or site leadership for my broken spirit or heart. I will take that responsibility. If I have to hear one more time, “Don’t beat yourself up” from the leadership or the tech savvy folks, I will “virtually-scream!!!!!”
I am a NON-FICTION person. I don’t enjoy fiction. I have no idea why Idislike fiction so much. Truly. The only fiction I read by choice (not assigned in school) is “Shoeless Joe” because the movie “Field of Dreams” is based on that book and I love the movie. Very good book! So, when I hear “virtual learning” I go to “fiction.” This is SCIENCE FICTION!! aaaaaaaargh!!!!
Bitmoji? A cartoon of me? SCREEEEEAM.
A cute cartoon of a classroom? SCREEEEEEAM
Backgrounds on my Zoom? SCREEEEEEEAM
I think of all the “community building.” Even though I am still at a loss of how I can see on Zoom all thirty-four students in Guitar Class or the Sixty-Five students in Band!! Part of the deal is seeing folks. The ice breakers the students are going to have to endure in every flippin class. Again, good intentions. Everyday we are going to start with community building. Did y’all do that before this semester? You did… Cool. Keep it up. If this is new for you … do your best. It takes practice and PLEASE remember – there is a chance our students are going to have 20 “how are you doing?” questions a week!!
That would be the next thing… Why am I going to add or do anything that wasn’t part of my class prior to this year? We already have had marching taken away from the Marching Band class. That is a major change to a class. My students chose the class to play their instruments and to march. I see fellow band directors now adding components that never had anything to do with marching band. I am not looking at filling in that hole just with anything. Again, my “non-fiction spirit.”
I believe part of the problem with all of this is the stage of life I am in. I am 54 years old. This is the start of my 31st year teaching high school music. I look at all this “virtual” learning and say, “How do I fit? This isn’t me.” I empathize with the disenfranchised students on our campus. I understand their pain.
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t the first time I have felt this way as a high school music teacher. When No Child Left Behind came out and we were doing STAR TESTING, I thought, “Uh-oh! No questions about the music class. Are we going to survive START TESTING?” We did. “The Vid?” Gonna be a bit tougher.
When people tell those who are not part of the culture, “it’s gonna be okay.” Really? How do you know?
So, now I have to take my own medicine. I am on a mission to get people, including me to really “lean-in” (cool – hip phrase … “lean-in” — heard that phrase several times these last three workdays) on my “E-Triangle.”
- Left Side of the “E-Triangle” – Respect
- Right Side of the “E-Triangle” – Responsible
- Foundation of the “E-Triangle” – Discipline
- Inside the “E-Triangle” – Integrity. Ethics. Faith.
In the end, my philosophy works:
Out of RESPECT for yourself, you will accept RESPONSIBILITY for all of your choices and that will take self-DISCIPLINE. And to help your spirit / mental being, you MUST have INTEGRITY (be true to yourself) ETHICS (keep commitments) and practice some sense of FAITH.
Right now, I am in a funk. Really… I am.
I will work my way through it. I will do what I can for my students with love in my heart. So what if I don’t have the cute Bitmoji of me or my virtual classroom? That’s not me (integrity – be true to yourself).
I need to control what I can and understand what I can’t control. I can control my choices / feelings. I can’t control people’s choices, including the choice to believe “Dynamic Online Learning” is the “best” response to THE VID.
Okay … it’s 6:49pm… I want to chill. Tomorrow, I will be on the computer for another four-to-six hours. No need to add more screen time tonight.
God bless all of us (teachers (all adults that make a campus come alive) / students / parents) as we face the best of the worse situation = AVERAGE. None of us want the “Average Steak” on a menu. None of us want an “Average Education.” There I go again … Mr. Non-Fiction. Sorry.