On ReflectionJohn Dewey said that you don't always learn from experience, rather, you learn from REFLECTING on your experiences.
I learned an important lesson last week.
I led an online workshop and attempted to do my Primarily Google session (one I have done 130+ times in the past six years) the exact same way I have always done it.
The session wasn’t a complete bomb, but about 10 minutes into the hour-long session, I recognized that it needed to change, dramatically.
A lot of teachers right now are trying to recreate their classrooms in this new online format and having varying levels of success. Don’t get me wrong - teachers everywhere are doing the best they can with the circumstances they have. And so, so, so many teachers are ROCKING this!
Remote (online/distance) teaching and learning is not the same. It can't be the same. And in trying to do things the way we've always done them, kids are anxious and overwhelmed, parents are overwhelmed, and TEACHERS are anxious and overwhelmed.
Hey teachers: You are SUPERHEROES!AND it's time to give yourself a break.
I'm starting to witness examples of how places which are normally sources of inspiration for teachers, such as Teachers Pay Teachers and the various Edu-Facebook communities, are giving some teachers anxiety about all the cutesy things they "should" be doing.
There are certainly a lot of teachers out there creating amazingly innovative resources... so many rockstar teachers who create and share their work for others to use, for free. It has been marvelous to witness how various teacher communities are flourishing with collaboration and generosity.
Unfortunately, it all has a dark side. Some educators are feeling pressured to try and “keep up with the teacher next door.” This causes insecurities and inadequacy complexes. It reminds me of the Pinterest mom-fails, right? Education is not a contest. And really, not all that cute stuff you see online is of any quality, whatsoever. Stop. Evaluate. Now more than ever, be critical consumers of the resources and content you push out to your students.
Your kids need to learn, and sure, we’re having to switch it up a lot right now. Priority one though - your kids need YOU! They might like that cute Seesaw activity or $80 remote learning activity package you can purchase from TpT. But before any of that, your kids need YOU and they need each other.
It's okay to take a different path. You don’t have to reinvent wheels to try and emulate your traditional classroom in this new remote setting. It won't be the same, and that's okay. The activities might look different. The pacing and timelines might look different.
It’s okay.Give yourself a little grace.
And maybe when we get back to the traditional learning environment, we'll pick back up some of those tried and true practices we've used for years.
And MAYBE we'll end up leaving some of those practices in the past, having leveled-up in ways that are more efficient, more effective, and more engaging for kids. When it’s over, hopefully we can REFLECT on this experience and walk away with important lessons:
- Efficiency matters. One thing teachers can’t have enough of is TIME. How might we leverage technology to make our teaching lives as efficient as possible?
- Effectiveness matters. We’re still trying to foster literate, critical thinkers who can communicate their thoughts and collaborate with others to accomplish creative, meaningful tasks!
- Engagement matters. When learners are offered opportunities to deeply explore their own curiosities and wonders, the learning sticks.
Forward.I am SUPER STOKED to be revamping Primarily Google this weekend to be ready to deliver to SO MANY AWESOME Canadian educators next week!
What Can our Littlest Learners Create... Remotely?