Working at home. Sounds amazing, right? You get to have a no stress commute, stay comfortable, and have all of your needs at your fingertips. Working from home has changed during this current state we are in now. I didn’t know how I felt when this transition started and the idea came to be. I teach kindergarten and first grade. I mainly teach reading and writing. Doing that without sitting next to them sounded challenging! Trying to sound out words and letter sounds over a computer sounded stressful! Of course I was excited to sleep a little longer without having to commute anywhere…but at what cost? There were three issues I saw immediately.
- I am not comfortable being recorded or talking over video…This will now be the only way I will see and talk to my students and coworkers.
- I am a different person in front of just children versus adults…I will now have a parent audience possibly watching or listening while I teach and entertain my students.
- So many of my lessons are hands-on, games, and group work…How would I make that work??
So, my head was spinning with ideas of how to do this and attempt to make it successful. Week one was full of unknown and uncertainty, a lot like my week one ever of teaching 19 years ago. I knew what I was doing, but it felt so strange, awkward, and nerve-wracking. I felt uncomfortable talking to my own students over a video, and had trouble connecting as we did in person. This shouldn’t be! I was trying to do different lessons, and new ways of teaching. I was grabbing any and every resource put out by all other teachers and educational sites!
Then, after a few days I realized I was trying too hard. I had to be me, “teacher” me, even at home in front of my computer. Once that happened, my students were themselves as well. I began doing what I do without worrying about who was listening or watching. Then, it was like everyone relaxed and we were in our room again, virtually. Yes, lessons changed to work virtually, but we still played games, and found a way to do hands on things far apart. We played Bingo, Hangman, and had Show & Tell. We explored outside and my home garden to have interactive Science lessons as we would in person. And, it turns out I can get pretty animated reading to a computer screen for some great read alouds.
It hasn’t been perfect, but we have done so much more than I imagined we could do with this age group over the internet. We all learned a lot during this transition to virtual learning, both in content and how it can be done.
Ms. Michelle Jones
Kindergarden & 1st Grade Teacher