In 1994, when I first started teaching, I used chalk and textbooks. I had an overhead projector and still showed filmstrips. There was no computer or internet in my classroom, in fact there wasn’t even a telephone! Since that first year at Roessleville, I have had the pleasure to work in six buildings with every grade from Kindergarten to 6th, serve as a teacher coach, and specialize in both writing and math. With each opportunity I have grown as a teacher and a learner. Our current circumstances have provided me with my greatest challenge yet.
These days, I teach my students exclusively on Google Meets and through Google Classroom. I share my day with 4th graders on the internet, building a community of learners online. Every day we meet, with the help of Google, in our virtual classroom to practice math, have conversations, grow as writers and navigate the world of virtual learning. Here, I challenge students to learn the 3R’s of school in 2020 – Respect, Responsibility and Resourcefulness. I see myself as a facilitator, providing students with opportunities during our Meets as well as during their independent time to explore, practice, question and learn. The time we spend together on the computer is not the same as being in a classroom, but we laugh a lot and appreciate each other just as we would at school, showing respect for one another through our words and our actions. Learning from home comes with conveniences and challenges alike. It’s easy to go grab a snack, but it requires students to be very responsible and resourceful. By giving the students structure with built-in choices, I can help them get to know themselves as learners.
So, I have traded my chalk for a stylus, the overhead projector for a digital tablet and the textbooks for web-based platforms. No matter how or where we learn together, my students remain the only constant. Their success is, and will always be, my goal.