I am writing this blog at the end of what felt like the longest first day of school ever. I will also begrudgingly admit, it was probably my worst first day of school ever. Whatever could go wrong, did go wrong, and I ended up troubleshooting more than getting to know my students.
I started off the online school day with my prep, and I was on a roll prepping the next few days, finishing posting assignments, and answering student emails to get them ready for class. So, of course, the universe laughed at my productivity and turned off the power. The power wasn’t out long, just long enough to take the internet down with it for the next few hours.
But, I am resilient. I came up with a plan and got my phone’s hotspot ready to go, launching my first Zoom Advisement class. It was a good plan, but my hotspot couldn’t sustain the needed bandwidth. I saw 23 students patiently sitting in my Zoom waiting room, ready to learn. As Zoom crashed for the 5th time, I hastily shot off an email explaining the issue and directing them to the assignment in our GoogleClassroom.
As I frantically threw supplies in my bag, I noticed I already had 3 emails from anxious students wanting to let me know they were trying to get in. No time to answer, I jumped in my car and headed to school to try and make it through the rest of the day.
Mask on, I made it to my classroom with ten minutes to spare and got myself set up for 4th period. Again the anxious students start logging on early, only to find my waiting room as I prepped for my first actual class of the day. I let kids into the online room, ready for the part I love most about my job-working with people. Most students choose to keep their camera off, and I was left staring at the four kids who are smiling at me and the two I thought were playing video games in the background.
Then the cherry on top of my day was when my computer showed an error message and started restarting itself mid meeting. Thank goodness for second screens, as I quickly switched to my iPad to answer questions and help students out.
But today wasn’t actually that bad. In fact, it was kind of awesome. I saw students excited to participate. I saw them messaging each other in Google Classroom to help trouble shoot for their peers. I saw patience I rarely see when things go wrong in person. I saw resiliency when things went wrong and my students found ways to communicate with me.
So, while today was not the shining example of how I see myself as a teacher, I feel confident tomorrow will be better. I also know teachers all over the country are struggling the same way I did today, and we will get a hang of this online teaching world together.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels