Friday, March 27, 2020

Catapulted into the Virtual World: COVID-19

COVID-19 has catapulted most people into the virtual world. Who would know that we would be prompted to leap when it came to our tech skills, but whether you like it or not, almost everyone is learning a lot about technology these days as we are restricted from our typical days that include lots and lots of social interactions.

As far as my life goes at the moment, I am trying to build some structure into this unstructured, unimaginable time. To do this, I did the following.

School Schedule
Now that we know we'll be home for another month, my colleagues and I have put some structure into our virtual teaching/learning/coaching efforts. We've outlined each of our roles for each other and the students and families. We have also created a schedule of homeroom meetings as well as protocols for responding to families and students. Further, we updated our weekly learning menu to make it more streamlined and user-friendly, and we added some parameters for when we expect students to complete the assignments if possible. We clearly noted that we realize that in times like these we understand that families' schedules and efforts may be consumed by a large number of situations.

My main role is to focus on my homeroom community with regard to checking in and facilitating homeroom class meetings. I am also in charge or managing the math learning which includes monitoring students' practice efforts, responding to students/family member's questions, and running a series of small group virtual learning opportunities. Next week, I'll work as I do at school from about 8 - 2 with some time in between and after that for lesson planning and student response and review. The week includes a virtual PLC, a virtual faculty meeting, a number of virtual student meets, time for planning and prep, and time to respond to the many questions, comments, and requests families, students, and colleagues pose. I believe I have a good week planned should the week move forward without any unexpected COVID-19 related personal or professional events.

Systemwide leadership is working to provide a bit more structure to our days too, so I expect that I'll have to revise the plans somewhat for next week in response to those efforts. We'll see.

At Home Schedule
The most challenging part of this COVID-19 event so far is the fact that my elderly parents live about an hour away on their own. Yes, I've tried to encourage them to live closer or with me to no avail, and while I would like to drive up to be with them, I don't want to infect them and I don't want to be infected. None of us who are symptomless know if we have the virus or not, and even if we were tested, the fact that the virus is everywhere all around here means that we could not have it one hour and get it the next. Hence, since my parents appear to be doing well, I'm staying in touch and opting to stay home.

At home, we have a good schedule of working during the day, sharing a delicious meal at night, and entertaining ourselves with walks, movies, reading, and more. We're taking it day by day.