Teaching in the age of a pandemic — part 1: keeping my sanity

I have been back at school for two weeks and I am so excited to be in the classroom again! In order to create the safest conditions possible for students to be on campus, my new school has created an elaborate A/B hybrid schedule where we see cohort A in the classroom on one day while cohort B works asynchronously from home, and then we flip the next day. Meanwhile, remote students from each cohort attend our physical classes each day via zoom. It looks like this:

Monday: synchronous class with cohort A + a few remote students while cohort B works asynchronously

Tuesday: synchronous class with cohort B + a few remote students while cohort A works asynchronously

This kind of schedule does a great job at bringing kids back to school as safely as possible. It has also generated new challenges for teachers.

Going into my first two weeks, my top priorities were : 1) How do I keep my sanity? 2) How do I ensure my remote students are included and seen? In this first post, I am sharing two key strategies that have helped me keep my sanity so far.

DISCONNECTING SYNCHRONOUS AND ASYNCHRONOUS TASKS

The cohort model means that I am teaching twice the amount of classes I am assigned to teach. Each class has their own personality, proficiency level, and pace. You know how much following my students’ pace is important to me (and to language acquisition). Therefore, I knew from the get go that it would be impossible to assign the same asynchronous work to both cohorts from the same class. So I made the important decision to completely disconnect my synchronous tasks from my asynchronous tasks.

While at home, my students are completing asynchronous lessons via a Google form (Shout out to Annabelle Williamson for her fabulous post on google form lessons). The lessons are simple: listen to one or two stories by Alice Ayel and write a short summary in English.

This has made my life so much easier! My students are receiving input, I can focus on planning for my physical classes and most importantly, I can focus on my students while in class and follow their pace (instead of being stressed to “teach content” in class so students can complete the asynchronous work). I am so happy to be a language teacher!

Click here to see an example of asynchronous task via Google form.

LETTING GO AND ENJOYING THE TIME WITH MY STUDENTS

I quickly let go of creating a cozy and inviting classroom. It’s OK. My classroom is bare bone but it is safe. My students and I are what makes our classroom inviting.

I quickly let go of being able to move around the room for various brain breaks, TPR, etc. It’s OK. We are still getting up and moving while staying in our “safe blue space”. We air high five. We can do this.

I am trying to let go of not being able to see my students’ faces. That one is hard. I am not there yet. Sarah Breckley summarized exactly how I feel about not being able to see my students’ faces:

Fortunately, some wonderful CI techniques such as One Word Image are helping us create joyful and creative learning experiences together. No mask can come between me and my students’ creativity! Click here to watch the creation of our very first OWI with a brand new 5th grade class.

How have you been keeping your sanity so far?

2 comments

  1. Hello Cecile, Thank you for sharing your great posts. I could not open this- if you could possibly open it for viewing. Click here to see an example of asynchronous task via Google form. Merci! Laura

    On Sun, Sep 6, 2020 at 5:41 PM TOWARD PROFICIENCY wrote:

    > Cécile Lainé posted: ” I have been back at school for two weeks and I am > so excited to be in the classroom again! In order to create the safest > conditions possible for students to be on campus, my new school has created > an elaborate A/B hybrid schedule where we see cohort A in” >

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