Matt and I are doing well at home. I was able to go to school on the Saturday before classes to bring materials home in a suitcase. So, I have a sweet, little set up for teaching from home. Really in this instance, we were thankful to be here. We feel perfectly safe at home and have only left to go to the grocery store. Other than that, we have been cautious and have kept at home.
The first couple days were really long…. meeting with the team, planning lessons, making the lessons, and fighting ( I mean learning) with/ about technology in this setting. Uploading videos takes forever… certain parts of Seesaw work only in China with a VPN. I’m using an iPad that doesn’t have a vpn, so when I am filming on my iPad and then sending the film to the computer, I have to turn off the vpn for it to transfer and then turn it on to make an assignment on Seesaw. We have to make sure the file size is as small as possible. Anyway…. countless little and time consuming issues pervaded the first half of the week.
Near the end of the week, we had figured out how to schedule future assignments and Maggie used a template in the Seesaw assignment for the kids to manipulate into an assignment on meter (3rd grade lesson). So, we are learning. Once that goes more smoothly, we can use the office hours to pour through the Seesaw posts and give feedback to all the children.
I guess the last challenge, technologically speaking, is that some families are able to load and participate in some of the lessons while I am getting feedback that other families can’t upload them. There could be a whole host of variables why the same lesson works for some and not others.
Speaking about teamwork… it’s been a rich, full week of working together with flexibility, grace, patience, trouble shooting with each other, and humor. As TF Specialists, Josie, Karla, and I are in touch almost everyday (and multiple times a day). My team has been GREAT!!! While I was writing an email to Lucas about tech issues, a Skype call from him in Korea came immediately and we talked about the problem and different ways to solve it.
Right now, I should have been in KL on the AMIS Middle School Honor Choir Festival with Stephanie Gravelle. Yesterday I received word that the Beijing Choral Festival will have to be cancelled for now and hopefully postponed. That makes 3 choir festivals cancelled for us this year, as well as countless other festivals and tournaments. We would also be starting classes in the new building this next week. I am so looking forward to facilitating active music making in that beautiful space.
The other aspect of being at home has been to figure out a work/ life balance when working from home. We are still making time for things that sustain us. I love to knit, cook, listen to podcasts, play board games, and play instruments. I have attached photos of my home office and a few pictures of things that have brought me joy this week.
Overall, I have loved being more involved with all the work the students are doing on Seesaw. I love the projects they are doing in PE and art. In some ways, I see a more complete picture of the children and all the various activities going on through Seesaw.
So that’s about all. I appreciate all the warmth and support we have received from admin: Dustin checking in and making himself available, Stacy sending a note earlier in the week to ES specialists TFs, Clarissa and Brian weighing in on emails I sent earlier in the week, and the general warmth from Patrick.
I agree with Stacy’s email I read today that it is evident that people are passionate about their craft and are making the best of this situation.