Hello Teacher! Day 161

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Hello Teacher! Day 161

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May 13,2021 Hello Teacher! Day 161
This is our second full week back in school full time and the struggle in my schedule is pacing. After teaching longer 60 plus minute virtual classes two or three times per week, the question of the week is how many activities are appropriate in a forty minute in-person class that meets five days per week? Being together live creates a different movement of time. The human dynamic of live interactions adds more distractions and disruptions, more spontaneous teachable moments, for example. When a student is in front of me and immediately puts her head down on her arms, and the other students rush over to offer support, the live class must pause. Unlike the student who is online, who refuses to put her camera on, the class has no idea what is actually going on, so class persists regardless of her situation.
Online classes have the ‘advantage’ of controlling time because class continues with the group of people on the call, in spite of what an individual may be going through. Live classes do not have the ability to continue when a crisis presents itself. And all interruptions are not crises. There are the students who arrive with a school breakfast, and class is scheduled to begin in one minute, and the kids at home are logged into the Google meet, and then the principal enters with testing information for the kids who are present, and now twelve minutes have passed and those of us in person have not yet begun to dive into the day’s lesson, whereas the kids at home have begun the assignments in Google classroom. What I am describing is the struggle with pacing, and it is not only about adjusting the classroom schedule, but also about accommodating the sudden changes in the home routine.
At home, the boys have resumed many of their pre-COVID activities. Obviously the school schedule has changed drastically which means that one of my sons must get himself to the bus and must remember to bring his baseball equipment with him because baseball practice and games have begun again. Playing baseball right after school means that he won’t take the bus home, but instead needs to be shuttled between school and baseball practice and then over to another field for a game. This is the child who was home learning remotely for over a year, until full time school began last week! Talk about a shift in routine and pacing. He no longer has the entire day to complete assignments or play videogames in between classes, thankfully, and must remember to charge the computer and set his alarm for a much earlier wake up than he has experienced in fourteen months. He is thriving with so much joy to be with friends at school and to be active again, but it feels like the first day of school every day, after a very long summer of being lazy and sleeping in.
To compare our year of remote learning to a lazy summer is not fair, because there were few moments of fun in the sun with friends or family vacations that etch joyous experiences into our memories. Our year at home was slower to be sure, and provided a pause in routine that enlightened the problem with our over-scheduled lives, but it was wrought with worry and sadness and restrictions. Re-emerging has sparked joy in my soul which yearned for the freedom to connect with friends and to return to school, but I must be honest with my feelings. Re-emergence feels more like going back to work or school after a long illness. We were not on vacation and did not enjoy ourselves, but I hope we learned a lot about self care. I know I learned that I am not the same person I was a year ago, and I need time to learn how to work at a pace that incorporates all the wisdom I gained from a year at home, which includes a commitment to radical self care. I cannot work at a frantic pace again because it threatens my well-being, and if I am not doing well, I cannot be the teacher my students need or the mother that my sons deserve. I learned a lot from my year at home about pacing, and moving slowly with intention is my new speed.
Now to incorporate my new way of doing things into the system in which I work…..school is not a place where taking your time and honoring your own pace is honored or recognized as important. There is a required start and finish to every class, every day, every year; the schedule is not flexible and keeps us on our toes and revs up the nervous system. Anxiety is the norm and feeling anxious is our default setting from which all decisions are made, including the testing schedule and the standards-based curriculum and the class content requirements. So where is the wiggle room or where can I create the space in my day that would allow me and the students and other teachers to settle and soothe the nervous system? The nervous system is the system that must dictate how the school system works, not the other way around! I refuse to continue to let the current system raise my anxiety level and that of my students with the inhumane expectations that a seven period per day schedule imposes. Our year at home was a re-set and our systems are ready to function in new ways that are able to keep us healthy and stable, instead of anxious and frantic. I plan to go at my own steady pace and I am sure that it will keep me well, and feeling well is way better than feeling anxious, for sure!

Creator

Heidi Chase

Date

05/13/2021

Contributor

Heidi Chase

Date created

5/13/21

Text

May 13,2021 Hello Teacher! Day 161
This is our second full week back in school full time and the struggle in my schedule is pacing. After teaching longer 60 plus minute virtual classes two or three times per week, the question of the week is how many activities are appropriate in a forty minute in-person class that meets five days per week? Being together live creates a different movement of time. The human dynamic of live interactions adds more distractions and disruptions, more spontaneous teachable moments, for example. When a student is in front of me and immediately puts her head down on her arms, and the other students rush over to offer support, the live class must pause. Unlike the student who is online, who refuses to put her camera on, the class has no idea what is actually going on, so class persists regardless of her situation.
Online classes have the ‘advantage’ of controlling time because class continues with the group of people on the call, in spite of what an individual may be going through. Live classes do not have the ability to continue when a crisis presents itself. And all interruptions are not crises. There are the students who arrive with a school breakfast, and class is scheduled to begin in one minute, and the kids at home are logged into the Google meet, and then the principal enters with testing information for the kids who are present, and now twelve minutes have passed and those of us in person have not yet begun to dive into the day’s lesson, whereas the kids at home have begun the assignments in Google classroom. What I am describing is the struggle with pacing, and it is not only about adjusting the classroom schedule, but also about accommodating the sudden changes in the home routine.
At home, the boys have resumed many of their pre-COVID activities. Obviously the school schedule has changed drastically which means that one of my sons must get himself to the bus and must remember to bring his baseball equipment with him because baseball practice and games have begun again. Playing baseball right after school means that he won’t take the bus home, but instead needs to be shuttled between school and baseball practice and then over to another field for a game. This is the child who was home learning remotely for over a year, until full time school began last week! Talk about a shift in routine and pacing. He no longer has the entire day to complete assignments or play videogames in between classes, thankfully, and must remember to charge the computer and set his alarm for a much earlier wake up than he has experienced in fourteen months. He is thriving with so much joy to be with friends at school and to be active again, but it feels like the first day of school every day, after a very long summer of being lazy and sleeping in.
To compare our year of remote learning to a lazy summer is not fair, because there were few moments of fun in the sun with friends or family vacations that etch joyous experiences into our memories. Our year at home was slower to be sure, and provided a pause in routine that enlightened the problem with our over-scheduled lives, but it was wrought with worry and sadness and restrictions. Re-emerging has sparked joy in my soul which yearned for the freedom to connect with friends and to return to school, but I must be honest with my feelings. Re-emergence feels more like going back to work or school after a long illness. We were not on vacation and did not enjoy ourselves, but I hope we learned a lot about self care. I know I learned that I am not the same person I was a year ago, and I need time to learn how to work at a pace that incorporates all the wisdom I gained from a year at home, which includes a commitment to radical self care. I cannot work at a frantic pace again because it threatens my well-being, and if I am not doing well, I cannot be the teacher my students need or the mother that my sons deserve. I learned a lot from my year at home about pacing, and moving slowly with intention is my new speed.
Now to incorporate my new way of doing things into the system in which I work…..school is not a place where taking your time and honoring your own pace is honored or recognized as important. There is a required start and finish to every class, every day, every year; the schedule is not flexible and keeps us on our toes and revs up the nervous system. Anxiety is the norm and feeling anxious is our default setting from which all decisions are made, including the testing schedule and the standards-based curriculum and the class content requirements. So where is the wiggle room or where can I create the space in my day that would allow me and the students and other teachers to settle and soothe the nervous system? The nervous system is the system that must dictate how the school system works, not the other way around! I refuse to continue to let the current system raise my anxiety level and that of my students with the inhumane expectations that a seven period per day schedule imposes. Our year at home was a re-set and our systems are ready to function in new ways that are able to keep us healthy and stable, instead of anxious and frantic. I plan to go at my own steady pace and I am sure that it will keep me well, and feeling well is way better than feeling anxious, for sure!

Rights

Heidi Chase

Note

There are many pages, thanks for reading!

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Citation

hidey1949, “ Hello Teacher! Day 161,” COVID-19 Chronicles: Worcester's Community Archive, accessed August 8, 2022, https://worcestercovid19.org/items/show/741.