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A Bird’s Eye View of Virtual Learning

Caitlin Gawlowski Uncategorized

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8:27 a.m.

Mrs. Gawlowski enters an empty classroom, frantically running to her computer. Her mask is falling off her face, and her glasses are foggy. Her hands are full of junk she insists on bringing with her every day, although most of it is not necessary. She opens the laptop and furiously begins typing. She sits down in a chair and heaves a sigh of relief. She immediately looks relieved.

“Ok, good I have the link to the virtual meeting ready to go,” Mrs. Gawlowski mutters to herself.

8:35 a.m.

Mrs. Gawlowski is sitting at her desk behind her computer. She has a pleasant expression on her face, trying to hide her boredom as she waits. She spins in her chair side to side and taps her favorite green flair pen.

“I wonder if anyone is going to come to office hours this morning,” Mrs. Gawlowski wonders aloud.

9:12 a.m.

“Ok, deep breath, Gawlowski. The parents must not have questions this morning. The morning meeting starts soon. You got this!” Mrs. Gawlowski finds that she talks to herself more than usual these days.

9:15 a.m.

Mrs. Gawlowski hears the ding from her laptop, letting her know that someone has joined office hours.

“Hi, how can I help you today? Yes, the link for the meeting is in our virtual classroom. It will go live in a few minutes. You are in the right place!”

9:20 a.m.

“Good morning, friends! I am so happy to see your smiling faces this morning! We have a great day of learning today. Here is what your schedule is going to look like. First, we are going to watch the morning announcement video together. Then, we will go around our virtual circle and share our favorite animal with the class. Then, you’ll log in to ExactPath to complete your daily lessons. I want to shout out to a couple of friends who earned trophies on their work so far this week. Congrats, Jimmy and Sally!”

Mrs. Gawlowski then shows the morning announcement video to the class. She facilitates sharing during the virtual meeting and sends the students off to complete their online assignments.

9:31 a.m.

“How do I log into ExactPath?” “The meeting did not show a picture. What do I do?” “I like to play on my Xbox and Roblox!” “How do I log into ExactPath?” “This is my favorite blanket, Mrs. Gawlowski!” “How many lessons do I need to complete today? “How do I log into ExactPath?” “Crying.”

Mrs. Gawlowski answers the questions from students and parents repeatedly with as much patience she can muster.

10:04 a.m.

Mrs. Gawlowski submits attendance, and calls parents to see how virtual learning is going.

10:32

Mrs. Gawlowski tracks student progress on Reading lessons in ExactPath. She sighs audibly.

“I miss my students,” she mumbles to herself.

11:30

Ah, lunchtime.

12:28

Mrs. Gawlowski looks around her classroom at the places where her students would be sitting if they were here in person. She sighs heavily. The classroom emptiness is an echo repeating over and over throughout the day.

“I hope my students are doing their assignments today,” Mrs. Gawlowski mumbles to herself.

3:00

“Hi, friends! How did your day of learning go today? Who would like to share something you learned with the class?”

Mrs. Gawlowski runs the afternoon meeting, which has only a few students in it. 

3:39

Mrs. Gawlowski logs into GoogleMeet and waits to begin the meeting with parents.

4:30

“Freedom!” Mrs. Gawlowski says to herself.

 

What a year this will be! There has already been a lot of adjusting this year, and we are only 3 days into the year with students. I am thankful for the grace and patience from my colleagues and families at school as we all begin working together on a new year of virtual learning.

What does virtual learning look like at your school?

 

I was born to be a teacher, although I did not realize that teaching was my calling until I began college. I have always loved to write and began college with the mindset of becoming a journalist. Before I began my freshman year of college, I changed my major to Elementary Education on a whim and have never looked back. I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and won the Outstanding Student Teacher Award during my student teaching experience in the Cave Creek Unified School District. I spent 7 years in the Washington Elementary School District teaching 2nd and 3rd grade. I became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2018, and I hold a certificate in Early and Middle Childhood Literacy: Reading/Language Arts. The 2019-2020 school year marks the beginning of my 8th year teaching, where I will be teaching 3rd grade English Language Learners, and supporting other National Board candidates on their journey toward National Board certification. If I am lucky enough to have free time, you can find me planning my wedding, spending time with my infant son and fiancé, taking group fitness classes, or enjoying a good book.

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