Learning during a Global Pandemic

before remote teaching musings…

I’ve been thinking a lot about the general frenzy to homeschool children and to get E-learning (of some sort) going, and can’t help but feel a little anxious about it all.

As you know, we are living in unique, fascinating, and unprecedented times. In many ways we face very uncertain futures. Everyone, rich or poor, is affected in some way whether by loss of income, loss of job, concerns surrounding housing, isolation, being stuck (literally) in abusive situations, the list goes on. At this point in history, our reality is that we are in uncharted territories, especially in regard to education.

As a teacher and parent, I too am concerned about the drastic change in routine and the absence of social networks that are integral parts of our well-being. I am worried that this way of life will become our norm for longer than we anticipate. What I am least anxious about is the formal learning that is being missed. Not yet anyway. 

I’m worried about the mental health of our kids everywhere. Are they happy? Are they getting to go outside for fresh air and to release pent up energy? Even if just on their balconies. Are they hungry? Are they bored? Are they lonely? Are they scared? Do they understand what is going on in our world? Do they have questions? Do they have opinions. Of course they do.

In these remarkable times, let’s truly be culturally relevant and responsive. Whether you are a teacher, parent or caregiver we can all do our part ensuring that our students are engaged in meaningful, impactful learning during this global pandemic. 

Here are some ideas:  

  • Watch the news with your child(ren) and talk about what’s happening around the world (Try to alleviate their fears and/or concerns.)
    • Have them identify bias and/or propaganda in the media
  • Have them research the coronavirus (Covid-19)
  • Have your child(ren) document your own or your family’s experience during this global pandemic
    • Keep a journal
    • Collect artifacts
    • Take photographs
    • Collect data
      • Social media trends
      • Weather 
  • Cook/prepare meals together
    • Measure
    • Budget shopping lists
  • Play games (board games, trivia, anything)
  • Read books and tell stories
  • Reach out to people friends, family and neighbours (from afar)
  • If/when safe, go outside to play, exercise and breathe

What are some of your ideas? Let’s create a shareable document of ideas for meaningful, relevant and responsive teaching and learning together. Leave a comment or send me an email at 12raisins@gmail.com.

week 2 remote teaching & learning musings…

Week 2 of remote teaching and learning

We’ve completed our first week of remote teaching and learning and it’s been overwhelming, interesting and exciting. But we made it, and we’ll continue to make it.

I, like many during these pandemic times, continue to be bombarded with information in different forms such as emails (so many emails), news, word of mouth. We’ve experienced drastic change in our way of life, there’s a lot going on and it’s an overwhelming time for many people everywhere, without the stress of schooling. Education matters. Schooling matters. Of course it matters! But in the midst of a global pandemic where the entire world has ‘shut down’ and 91% of the world’s children are NOT in school, my sentiments remain the same. We need to chill out and stop further stressing out ourselves, and others. Stop getting mad at teachers, stop getting mad at kids. Stop getting mad. Just, stop.

Education is all around us. all. the. time. Kids all around the world are home. Some, advantaged. Some, disadvantaged. Inequities aside, our priority should not be recreating our classrooms and their schedule of activities. We are in a crisis. We have enough going on. I’m not saying remote learning shouldn’t exist. But, we need to calm down. Myself included. Pre-covid19 and during covid19, I continue to believe that there are many meaningful, responsive, relevant learning opportunities for our young people to engage in, and believe that as long as it’s aiding in their well-being that’s where our energies should be.

Thus far in the transition to remote teaching and learning, about half my class is connected and engage fairly regularly. The others are either waiting for a device, or we’ve had precarious (or no) contact. My daily schedule of interactions include responding to phone calls and emails galore, trouble shooting for parents, many meetings, planning, giving feedback, learning, thinking, trying, worrying, smiling, laughing, oh and tending to my own kid.

The good, I’m finally learning how to use a technology-based learning platform that I’ve been putting off for years (it was NOT a priority at the time). As such, I’m pretty excited to begin implementing them into my post-covid programming hopefully this coming September. September. We’re not even done April, and I’m worrying about September.

It’s somewhere around Quarantine Day #34 for me and through this process of remote teaching and learning, and being a part of a global pandemic where the world as we know it, has basically shut down, is really forcing me to be present.

Now, now is the time to focus on, now. Focus on our health, focus on the well-being of our loved ones and those whose paths we haven’t yet crossed; yes strangers matter too. For now, let’s not worry so much about the curriculum. It can wait. Our kids will be ok. Especially if we shift our priorities.

Let’s try to get out of this ‘thing’ as unscathed as possible.

Let’s make sure ours, and the minds, souls and body’s of our little ones are healthy and well in these scary times.

Together, let’s breathe and take things slowly, one day at a time.

Reflectively yours,

Tamla

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