This past year, teachers found themselves in a dilemma. There was a common question of how do we deliver the same education to our students when we cannot see one another face-to-face?
For some, the term “virtual learning” has been a humdrum phrase, overused this past year- in the face of adversity (better known as COVID-19).
For others, the term “virtual learning” has opened an entirely new world of platforms for delivering and receiving education.
For perspective, veteran educators may have found it a bit difficult to adapt to the virtual platform settings, in comparison to traditional teaching in a physical classroom setting. In retrospect, novice educators may have adapted to varying online platforms, but lacked the preparation, enthusiasm, or experience to maintain each lesson.
There is no clear cut resolution to the individual experiences of educators while teaching remotely. However, one thing is for certain, the use of one’s own skillset set the standard for remote learning this past year.
The previously mentioned novice and experienced educators may have utilized their skills regarding Google platforms, Apple products, Zoom, Android, Facebook video conferencing tools, and Microsoft Teams to reach students. The background knowledge of video conferencing mixed with educational experiences and knowledge created welcoming, learning/virtual environments. Teachers were able to adapt to the ever changing virtual environments through technology platforms, along with the individual needs of their children and families, throughout the entire remote year. However, much consideration had to be taken, regarding day-to-day activities, as virtual learning did not leave much room for lack of preparation and planning.
For some experienced and novice educators, transitioning to a 100% virtual platform presented a different challenge. The concept of spending an entire career within a classroom setting and moving to a remote setting resulted in another level of passion, patience, and perseverance. Hours of preparation along with high levels of energy to deliver these same lessons, were the result of the same descriptive statements mentioned above. For some Teachers, learning how to navigate virtual platforms and then turning around to teach families how to navigate these same tools became a day-to-day reality.
For engagement, Teachers hopped around, sung songs, danced in the camera, scheduled Zoom’s with small children, conducted Parent Teacher Conferences remotely, and even participated in virtual field trips.
Amongst the daily lessons, it became extremely usual to witness a Teacher high-fiving her students through the computer screen. Teachers prepared packets for families and students to take home and possibly return. An unlimited number of phone calls, texts, emails, online professional developments, along with teaching were the result of the 2020 Covid-19 virtual lessons. It’s safe to say, that educators alike utilized their individual skill sets in order to deliver quality virtual lessons to students.
These skills are all things we can continue to take along the journey of teaching and learning.
Marilynn Andrews, M.A.