Google Classroom has been my go-to. From March 2020 to June 2020, we were told by our admin team to have a google classroom set up and ready for the students to access. We were going to be teaching from home and unsure of how long this was going to last. Since it was supplementary learning, provincially mandated, I'm not certain many kids (or teachers) took it seriously. Maybe they were happy that they didn't have to worry about walking to school in slush, have winter clothes for the morning and summer clothes for the afternoon, or maybe they just felt indifferent. Without formal training on Google Classroom, we were learning on the fly, adjusting to our new normal and dealing with the looming pandemic. The 2020/21 school year brought different challenges. We wondered if this was what we were expected to do for the rest of our careers, how effective this was. We adjusted the semester system to quints, had half a class every other day and were clinging to hope, looking for a reprieve.
This was a perfect time to review my teaching, assessment and evaluate some of the content I used and updated for blended and online learning. I was able to prioritize and rearrange the important and less important things, knowing I had much less time to cover the essentials.
Over the past few semesters, I took ECI834 from Alec and now 833 from Katia. These courses allowed me to be a better teacher, carrying on into the fall. I can actively seek feedback and understand what's working, what isn't and what needs a little tweak. This is for the students, and I need to keep that at the forefront. I need to ensure the kids are engaged, motivated and understanding the key concepts.
I hope I'm not the only one, but I found it difficult to keep the kids motivated to learn, especially with the number of options that some have at their disposal.
We need to be better at finding things that hook them and hold their attention, more than just the catchy Kahoot! jingle.
Ideally, we will be back at school in September with regular face to face learning, but with a greater sense of urgency and emphasis on making ourselves better teachers, with new tools in the toolbox.
In my PE world at Balfour, I can see how it impacts students who aren't athletically gifted (or inclined for that matter). I have the ability to adapt and empathize with EAL learners, students with hearing or vision impairments that may prevent full participation in my classes.