I wasn’t sure what to write for this post. My teaching life has been thrown up in the air since we started eLearning in my school on March 17th. I thought a month after my last post, I would have it together and be able to share something amazing that my students and I are working on. That is the opposite from the truth. eLearning has been tough these past few weeks and finding the balance between work and home when you can’t leave work to go home is overwhelming. To keep things light I am trying to find positives in my class and at home. My hope for you is that you are able to find positives (even glimmers of hope) in your life too during this dark time. Here are just a few glimmers….
Our students are reading. Not everyone (and if I am being real honest, only 43% actually logged their pages last week on our class reading log.). But, there are students who complain about reading during our ten minutes everyday in class, that are taking the time to record the books they are reading. We built up this reading habit and now students are doing it on their own!
Students miss us. I miss my students terribly and I worry about them while they are at home. When we get emails or Remind texts from them asking how we are doing, or just checking in, that brings a smile to my face. The time we spent trying to build relationships with them first is working and students know that we care.
More and more students are starting to do work. I am not sure if our kids are an anomaly or not, but it has been a slow go getting students to be motivated at home to do their work independently. I celebrate every day that a student completes even a portion of an assignment in our class. Students need to know that we will celebrate them for every little thing they do and encourage them to keep at it!
Students are taking feedback and revising their work. With eLearning I thought that students would put the bare minimum into their work. Boy did I sell my students short. I am so proud of our students. My co-teacher and I have been giving feedback in their Google Docs and students are asking questions and taking time to make changes to improve the work they turn in. Even in this time of struggle, they care enough to keep working on something until they are happy with their product.
Self Care has become a priority. I am encouraging my students to take care of themselves (getting outside, getting exercise, journaling, etc.), and am making it a priority for my family. There is never an excuse now not to workout at some point in the day, and when the weather is nice, I push my husband (who is also a teacher) to get up and take a walk outside with our dogs to get our daily dose of vitamin D. Our school day sometime goes later in the afternoon/evenings to meet the needs of students, but life has been more manageable taking these breaks.
Family time has been rekindled. Between school and our boys’ athletic commitments, our family was lucky to have dinner together on Sundays. We spent many evenings where I had dinner with one kid while my husband ate with the other. COVID-19 has allowed my family time together every night. We are cooking together, #supportinglocal restaurants (especially those owned by families we know), baking treats, binging TV shows (#TigerKing, #VirginRiver, & #TheOffice are my new favorites) and playing games with one another.
As you reflect on this “COVID-19” time, what are some of the positives that you are celebrating in your life right now? Please share in the comments below. I would love to celebrate along with you.
Melissa Sethna lives and teaches with her husband in Mundelein, IL. On a regular school day she is so busy coaching teachers and planning professional development (along with co-teaching her English class). Under this mandatory school closure time, when she isn’t helping her colleagues, she is catching up on her to-read list, listening to “Today’s Country” on Apple Music, and making time to workout at a normal hour. You can follow her on Goodreads and Twitter @msethna23.