Friday, July 17, 2020

All school and no play

I can sometimes be accused of being All school and no play by family members and colleagues.

Why the obsession?

Bottom line: I like to do a good job, and I find great pleasure in improving what I can do. I've always thought of teaching as a giant math problem, one I continually try to solve in ways that maximize what we do to support children in the best possible ways.

I typically use the summer months to research, read, and improve parts of the program and my abilities to each year is better than the year before. I like this process of betterment. It brings me great satisfaction to weave new research and understanding into the existing program.

That said, however, to be All school and not play can make one rather dull both in the classroom and at home, so you do have to strive for that just right balance. Typically I find that balance with summer adventure and travel which is somewhat limited this year, yet I'll still strive to find days to remove myself from this summer's school challenges and questions.

This summer's pandemic challenges make it a different kind of summer. Rather than spending my time honing the curriculum program, booking field trips, updating the classroom, and studying with other educators, I'm mainly spending my time researching and advocating for a safe, successful remote teaching program in the fall. I don't believe a return to school in almost any way is safe. The only safe return I can think of is to have one or two teachers return to teach a very small number of children who have specific needs, other than that, I believe that almost all teaching should be remote to ensure the safety of students, families, and educators. If we take the long view, remote teaching will keep people safe, save money, and enrich everyone's ability to boost lifelong learning and technological skill. A move to remote teaching, if well supported by government and community agencies, can double as a way to boost strong family life in the country too. This will be particularly doable if the government offers families a childcare stipend to use as they wish to provide quality childcare for their children.

So while I agree that I can, at times, be All school and no play, it's difficult for me to relax or plan for the year ahead without a safe, healthy decision for a remote teaching/learning schedule. Once that decision is made, I can move on to planning for a robust remote plan. If a different decision is made, I may need to direct my research in another direction, a direction that keeps me safe from the risk that school attendance may bring. Onward.