COVID 19 has stripped us of control over a large number of things that we used to have control over.
Do you remember the time when you can just book a flight, buy tickets and fly off to your chosen destination without worrying about border restrictions, exorbitant flight costs, quarantine conditions or being in a small space with your dependents while e-schooling them and e-teaching at the same time?
Seems. Like. A. Lifetime. Ago.
How about classroom prep? How important is your space to the learning experience?
Prepping the classroom must be on top of a new teacher’s check-list on “How to Start the School Year,” and yet, for us folks outside of Beijing, not being in our spaces will be one of the things that we will need to deal with.
I can’t even pretend to imagine what is going in the minds of our early year teachers as they prepare to move into an amazing new space that they haven’t physically seen.
I’m kinda’ on the same boat dreaming of how to teach in the new drama studio and the anticipation is killing me not knowing when I’ll actually get there.
How do we handle all of this? I believe that the term VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous – was the term that one of our consultants, Jennifer, used to describe these times.
I’m drawing on the power of AFFIRMATION, specifically on Marie Forleo’s mantra and the title to her New York Times bestselling book – Everything is Figureoutable.
Teachers are RESOURCEFUL and with that, I know that in spite of all the craziness, we’ll be able to HACK THIS!
Which brings me to the question –
How did you use the online planner? Did you follow directions and planned for an eight-day cycle or did you personalize the process by planning a bigger picture for your classes?
As a specialist teacher for grade six, where I teach all the students in the grade level through a quarter-long drama class, the practical way to utilize the planner was creating a scope and sequence on how the quarter will look like. Sharing this blog post with my instructional partner, Janine Chen, will give her an overview of the course.
Having taught grade six drama in both offline and online platforms, I chose to include the top three units that students raved about that gave them “challenging and joyful learning with the freedom to explore (from ISB mission statement).”
Below is an Action Plan (good luck to me 🙂 )
- COLLABORATE : How will you collaborate and plan with your instructional partner? I will train Janine, my instructional partner, into a Broadway Sensation! By the time I return, she’ll be quoting Shakespeare, choreographing dances and directing short plays. Easy peasy. Kidding aside, I will give her an orientation about how drama class works and give her access to unit resources, including this blog and my website, so she can familiarize herself with the nature, content and experience of this performance-based class. In this blended model, a positive and collaborative working relationship will be key to making things work well.
- CLARIFY: Making unit materials accessible in DX will give students access to resources that they can preview and review (either in the synchronous or asynchronous learning). Plus, organizing units on DX will make it available for future classes too; it’s worth the investment to build it. To think that I didn’t even use DX much before COVID definitely shows how far I’ve come!
- CARE: A check-in ritual utilizing SEL strategies such as check-ins, mindfulness, breathing and meditation, and self-reflection will give students a chance to share how they are feeling, where they are at and create a safe space to connect.
- CAPTIVATE: Which lessons did your kids enjoy the most? I polled students and based on their feedback, included the units that they enjoyed and loved – irregardless of whether they did these online or offline. These units were kid-pleasers, had high engagement and importantly, I enjoyed teaching it too – which makes them a winner!
- CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT: Students shared that classroom management was one of my strong points which is probably an off-shoot of being a theater director and a mom! My daughter Catalina observed a rehearsal once and she said, “So do you just sit in the theater and tell people what to do?” From a kid’s perspective, I guess that is exactly what a theater director does. However, since I won’t be in the space, I need to tag-team with my IP and together, we need to create a system that will give students a balance between structure and the freedom to explore. This will definitely be a challenge in a blended model but I’m keen to collaborate with Janine to figure it out.
Starting the school year in a VUCA setting will come with a lot of challenges. For those outside of Beijing, couple planning the start of a school year while waiting for PU letters, sorting-out VISA applications, finding flights that won’t break the bank and thinking of the ever-changing quarantine conditions can shoot anxiety level’s sky high.
Definitely not an easy start to the year, no matter how long you’ve been teaching.
So how do we handle this? Repeat with me :
“Everything is Figureoutable, Everything is Figureoutable, Everything is Figureoutable, Everything is Figureoutable, Everything is Figureoutable…”
Plus, we’ve got each other.
Looking to check-out another blog, check out Steves, I’ve Lost My Senses.