I have been a grade 4 teacher for five years now and during this time have found myself teaching more in the traditional sense of using paper, pencils, booklets to deliver material and help students gain a strong understanding of the outcomes. More recently I have begun using iPads and Chromebooks more regularly in the classroom with my students. However, a typical day in the life of teaching has significantly changed now that teaching and learning is taking place at home, online, via the internet.
I find myself missing the face to face social and emotional connections that are made between teacher and students. Rather than welcoming students each day with a morning greeting and a handshake, I have transitioned to meeting with the students a few times a week over google meet. Students generally arrive to the google meets excited with enthusiasm. These meets replace our face to face and direct instruction time. To assist with learning online, I rely heavily on the google classroom platform as well as the Seesaw app to send assignments out to students.
I find myself sending and receiving a lot of emails each day, from parents, students and other teachers. I have found myself on a learning curve of being submerged in the use of constant technology. Part of my job now is to be a troubleshooter in technology when my students or their parents are having difficulty accessing material or using apps. This “new normal” has challenged me to find new ways of teaching and to continually look for new apps and online platforms that will best assist students with their learning. I feel a bit like a student myself nowadays. I recently learned about some other valuable teaching apps including Flipgrid, Desmos, Quizzizz and Mentimeter. I look forward to trying these apps out with my students in the future.
I do feel that this new challenge will help me when we return to the classroom once again. I think the new knowledge I have gained about technology and different apps at this time will prove very useful in keeping my students engaged in the classroom and online in the future.