If you don’t already know … we are in a PANDEMIC! That’s right people, a full blown, stock up, quarantine yourself and avoid all physical contact, pandemic.
Now, lets add a few curve balls into the mix:
- Entire countries are on lock down to combat the virus.
- BC has suspended face-to-face teaching indefinitely.
- Everyone has been told to self-isolate to curb the spread of Covid-19.
- You can’t find toilet paper, tissues, hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes in any stores.
- Its Spring Break (at least for my district).
Let’s start with a few key issues I have.
- I’m a little bitter that the announcements of school ‘closures’ (for lack of a better word) have come out at the beginning of my holidays- seriously I don’t want to deal with this right now.
- There is no point in stockpiling goods- most major grocery stores will deliver to your house if you are quarantined – or here’s a crazy thought – CALL A FRIEND
- DON’T BE AN IDIOT – TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND DON’T PUT OTHERS AT RISK
Covid-19 may be one of the larger pandemics in my lifetime, however it is not the first. In my less than 30 years of life, there have been many viruses that plagued the public, in no particular order:
- Bird Flu / H1N1
- Swine Flu
- Mad Cow
And I’m sure there are many more, but these are the ‘big ones’ I can remember. Fortunately, I was not infected by any of these that I know of, but I do remember being affected by the aftermath. My point is, if we as a global community can make it through these, we can make it through this time as well. IF everyone, takes the recommended precautions.
Okay, rant over – now let’s get to Teaching during a Pandemic.
Currently there are a lot of questions and uncertainty about what ‘school’ will look like after spring break. Unfortunately, we don’t have answers. This isn’t for a lack of trying, but we honestly don’t know at this point. Even moving forward there will be a lot of trial and error. What we do know, is
- Wash your hands
- Don’t touch your face
- Limit your contact with other people
For educators, we are going to have to get creative, in our teaching and our assignment expectations. WE ARE GOING DIGITAL. Some schools (like mine) are in a better situation than most. 60% of my teaching is done online, the other 40%is face to face. Yes, I will have to rethink that 40% and creatively engage my students so they can continue their learning. BUT I am far less than worried than many of my colleagues. Many teachers must digitize their face-to-face classrooms and instructions. This also means that parents and students must engage with their learning at home – with limited support.
Enough with the negative (there is a lot) and let’s look at the positive (not of the virus but society’s reaction)
- CREATIVITY: people are getting creative in how they interact with one another, and how they are spending their time.
For example, Netflix is offering an extension that allows a group of people to stream and converse synchronously while they are in different places.
- PROBLEM SOLVING: Teachers/coaches are using different technology to instruct students/players and help those individuals practice and develop skills.
For example, setting up an exercise competition, using social media to inspire activity, and sending out instructional videos to follow along.
- COMMUNITY: Despite social distancing, people are going to aid those in need (while doing so safely). For the most part, individuals are doing their part to help others, while following health recommendations.
- OPPORTUNITY: This is an amazing albeit a forced opportunity to integrate new digital technologies into the K-12 educational setting.
The next few weeks (possibly months) of teaching in a pandemic will have its challenges. But as a community of educators, we can collaborate and implement various teaching strategies to address learning during a pandemic. What I DO know is LEARNING CAN BE DONE ANYWHERE!