To Blog or Not To Blog
I loved my first website! It was a reflection all about what I was reading, learning, discovering while completing my graduate program and then it followed me into my first year of teaching. Domestic Violence required me to abandon it, my home, and everything I knew to keep my family safe.
While planning out a new site, I researched how to make it better. I learned about SEO, social media, making graphics, and so much more. While I love the new name, the colors, and the branding. I did not love the work it took to simply sit down and write. So, I stopped.
My teaching and the passion for my career has been hurting since then. I need this outlet. Even if no one ever reads it. I need a way to reflect, search out old ideas and make them new again. I need a place to record my journey as a teacher.
While learning about blogging, I discovered that a lot of people prefer to get emails with the latest information rather than go to the site and read. Some day, I will set up a weekly newsletter called Wednesday notes. For now, I am just writing them here on the blog.
Goal Setting During a Pandemic
Teacher Truth: Teaching during a pandemic is TOUGH!
Teachers have been through a lot in the last year. First there was the "everyone needs a computer we will do something from home" phase. We were given the summer to recoup and prepare. Just when we thought we might manage something we hit the "you have to teach the same curriculum just remotely" phase. UGH! I won't even get started on that. Next came the "can you teach some students remotely while a few are in the classroom" phase and with that came the "let's still test the kids" phase.
I think I got it. The students (and their families) have been real champs and have not laughed too many times at the things that didn't work. Today, we have entered the newest phase. The "lets set goals for student growth" phase.
Dear Department of Education,
I thank you for your confidence in my skills as an educator, the ability of my students to adapt to a new learning environment, and the flexibility of our families to change directions with little notice. However, I believe your confidence is a bit misplaced.
We (the students) are not "learning" like we would in a normal year. We are "surviving." Survival mode means that we are learning to type, use a computer, teleconference, submit documents, troubleshoot internet connections, manage multiple tabs on our device, and to organize our selves to be in the place we need to be without the loving (nagging) reminders from our teachers.
We (the teachers) are not "instructing" like we would in a normal year. We, too, are "surviving." We are spending countless hours researching ways to engage students who do not log on, to challenge students who are logged on, to rewrite and adapt curriculum that was purchase for our use in a normal classroom to a digital environment in which it was never designed to be used. We are listening to stories of students and parents who are struggling and trying to remind them that "normal" will return soon while we ourselves are struggling with the same thoughts and feelings. We are trying to teach our own children and support them while managing our students from a district.
Today, you asked for how I plan to show my students have growth this year. I am measuring growth by attendance. Did they turn on their computer? I am measuring growth this year by talking with them in video conferences. I am walking them through and scaffolding in more ways than ever before. I am teaching them to find the period on their keyboards and how to use the shift key to put a capital at the start of the sentence. I teach 6th grade and these are my focuses. Can you imagine the younger grades? Not only does the teacher have to explain where the c is but what it looks like. A second grader asked me why the keyboard is not in alphabetical order like the poster in the wall in first grade. Can you help explain that in terms he can understand?
No. My dear sweet Department of Education, I simply cannot. I have said yes so many times and today I can't. For the sanity of parents and students everywhere, I am not measuring if they read more books than last, how many new words they discovered, or what their current Lexile level is. If you would like to negotiate and take away something else... I may be able to accommodate your latest request.
Hi! My name is Misty. I am a 6th Grade ELA Teacher, Mama of 5, and author of The Path to Passionate Teaching.