Teaching in the Year of Covid

It has been a while since I posted.  I have either been too busy or too tired.  Busy because I am teaching full time and being the school techie full time.  Covid has increased the time I need to commit to helping teachers handle tech issues and it also increased the immediacy of those needs.  I am also teaching a couple of new to me courses that require prep time I do not have at school since my prep period is sucked up into tech chores.  I have to do a lot of prep at home.  No biggie, it just takes time.  By the time I am done the last thing I want to do is type on the computer some more.                               

We got through six weeks of full-time school before Covid intervened.  It finally hit the football team.  I personally thought it a bad idea to have a close contact sport during the time of Covid but cancelling the season would have caused an uprising among parents.  So be it.  So far we only have two kids positive but all the close contacts added to the issue.  So we have about thirty kids out of school.  In a school of 165 that is a major chunk.  We are now officially hybrid.  Live and Zoom at the same time.  It sort of works.  We discussed going totally remote but for many of the students their safest place from Covid is at school.  At school they are masked and distanced.  At home who knows what is happening.  Most likely they are not at home.  Some of the staff actually like the hybrid model.  Fewer kids in the classroom increases distancing and if the kids are on Zoom they are anchored to the screen and not hanging out with friends.  Friends do not want to hang out while they are doing school work.  Having been remote in the spring has pretty much prepared us for this.  We have a couple of first year teachers that were not here in the spring that are having a bit of a struggle but I think the rest of the staff can get them up to speed.  

The hybrid model for learning is not as good as all being in class but we have decided it is better than all remote.  There is still interaction between the homebound and the in school kids over the Zoom link.  The home kids are on a big screen so the class can see and talk to them.  A positive and surprising side effect has been that in some classes the home kids are asking the in-class kids for clarification of lectures.  The in-class kids are now expecting to have to repeat notes and discussion.  A big plus for them.  Not so much for the Zoomies.

Learning is taking place.  Maybe not to the sharp level we are used to for a private college prep school but I think there is nothing we could do to make what we are doing better.  Syllabi and presentation methods are being adjusted on the fly but the staff is up to it.  We have the flexibility to handle the needed changes.  I expect some of the home kids will tune out but we cannot control the home situation to a great extent. Parents and students have a responsibility in this somewhere.  During these trying and changing times students have to assume more responsibility for their education.  I hope they are up for it.

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