Today I had to navigate a serious breach in decorum with a student in my in-person class. They were proposing something crazy, and I went along with it, and now I feel personally violated. During work time, the student convinced me to start play christmas music. CHRISTMAS MUSIC! It’s November 2nd! The halloween decorations are still up! I hung my head in shame while singing along to ‘This Christmas.’
How the year is going so far
The school year is going ok so far, so it made sense to try and write about it, which leads me to revive my class log. Lucky to have a chance to teach a class even though there are a lot administrative things I have to do. When there isn’t a global pandemic, teaching a class helps me understand what teachers might be seeing, and connect to students in a non-disciplinary way. As we worked on our staffing plan in light of Covid-19, my teaching a class became important in different ways as each new bit of information from NYCDOE was announced. At first it was good for me to teach because we needed to keep class sizes as small as possible. Then we needed more in-person teachers because about 40% were able to work from home with medical accommodations. Then, as >70% of students went remote, class sizes swung the opposite direction, and I was back teaching again for my regular reasons. If anything changes, teaching will still be a big priority for me. I think the teaching profession is going to be fundamenally changing as a result of all of this and I’m lucky to be able to see it with my own eyes. It’s not clear how it will be changing, but my ability to understand that change will be better because I’m teaching.
To plan the class we are working in a ‘pod’ of 3, on a couple of geometry that leads to a project of building a handicap ramp. Each pod has at least one in person and one remote teacher. The three of us keep our classes tightly paced so whenever one student decides to stop attending in person and to ‘go remote,’ the transition is seamless. We’re using a combination of video lessons and straight up worksheets on Google Classroom. Nothing fancy. We probably should have spent the summer learning to do online platforms of some sort, because we were waiting to see if we will be in the building or not. Perhaps we’ll use more online platforms later in the year but it’s hard to tell if our students have the internet access to work on it, or if we have the time to learn a new thing.
Relationships with students have been pretty interesting, I’ve never had more than 4 students in the class. Our classes are 2.5 hours so I’ve really gotten to know the students. The longer classes help us reduce hallway passing time to once per day, thus reducing the number of groups that any person is exposed too. It’s a little too small though. I’ve combined with a different teacher to get more of a ‘real’ class vibe. It feels less like a small class than an animated tutoring session, so it’s working a different set of teaching muscles than I’m used to. The lack of a large body of kids to appeal to is particularly difficult. Having a large group that is working together and making decisions and learning is important for students to be a part of. Without it things can kind of feel weird. Such as when one of the two kids you have in class really wants to start listening to Christmas music two days after Halloween, and no one else is around to talk them out of it.
With all the new things going on in school and the world, it seems like capturing it is important. Therefore, I’m going to write about it in my blog more. Hopefully more blogging will get me out of my head and also help me be more present to the different things going on in and out of school. I’m going to write a lot in the month of November and we’ll see what happens.