Since we last met there have been a number of changes in my life:
- demolished our home and started building a new one in its stead
- during the build, we lived in a 400 sq ft basement suite (it was tight!)
- completed my Master of Educational Technology (MET) from UBC
- after finishing the build moved into the new house with my in-laws (with separate living quarters, of course)
- had a baby (she's a month shy of being 4 years old)
- went travelling with the baby (definitely do this! Well, maybe not at this time)
- changed schools and started teaching grade 8 middle school English and Social Studies (and a few other subjects)
- oh, and became more active in my local union
So, that brings us here today. I share these thoughts because they are not only what shapes me as a person, but as an educator. Despite our best efforts to keep our lives at home and do not bring them to work with us, they come anyways. They are our life experiences and we cannot ignore them. The experiences above, along with many others, have made me the person I am today.
When I started this blog six years ago, it was meant to be a place for me to share some of my educational growth. And a place for me to reflect on aspects of my teaching practices. Well, after completing my MET, I think I was burnt out. Completing an entire master’s program online, and building over a dozen webpages as a part of it, kind of turned me off my computer. Strange, I know, especially considering it revolved around the use of technology. Don’t worry, I still integrated technology into my teaching practices and I still reflected. Just not here.
Part of my stepping away from the blog also had to do with timing. Life was hectic, life was crazy. I was finishing my master’s at the same time as building a house with my in-laws. And, a few short months after finishing my master’s, I found out I was pregnant. So, life was now revolved around teaching, shopping for flooring, paint and the like, and eating and resting. I didn’t have the energy to think about coming here to share my practices or my reflections. Then there was a whole change in teaching assignment the year after my return from maternity leave. The move was unexpected and unwanted and did not sit well with me. That first year was all about survival. Managing a young toddler at home and a whole new curriculum I hadn’t taught before. I could go on, but, I’m not here to share my whole life’s story. Well, not all of it anyway.
I needed time for me. I needed time to focus on myself and my family.
Why now? Why today?
I’m still busy and life is still crazy, yet, if there’s one thing that I’ve realized over the years, especially being a union representative, sometimes there are teachers that just want to know they’re not the only ones struggling. That they can see themselves represented in someone else’s struggles and that brings comfort. So, that’s why I’m here today.
Seven weeks ago my life was turned upside down. I was at school on the Tuesday before Spring Break and started feeling sick. With this new thing called the Coronavirus around, I thought it would be best to stay home the following day. Which turned into the rest of the week, which has now turned into seven weeks.
Not only have our lives been turned upside down as individuals, but as educators too. As educators, we’re being forced to confront the effects of the pandemic, COVID-19. With many of us no longer being allowed in our brick-and-mortar classrooms, we’re being forced to provide learning opportunities to students through remote online learning environments. This pandemic is challenging us to reflect on our teaching philosophies. To ask ourselves; What is it that we can share with other educators to help support them? What support do we ourselves need? How does the use of educational technology fit into all of this? But, perhaps most importantly, how can we put all of the above into supporting our students at home?
Knowing the struggles we’re experiencing as adults, and the difficulty we have in navigating through this new environment, just imaging what it’s like for the students. Now is the time to share. Share your thoughts, share your ideas; don’t just share which tools you are using, share the ways you are integrating them into remote learning to contribute to a positive environment for you and your students. Now is the time to work together, to collaborate together, to share your successes, your challenges. To come together, to support, and to encourage one and other.
This “experience” that we are currently living has woken me up, has energized me, and has stirred something in me that has been missing a while. I have the opportunity now, more so than before, to use that little thing called my Master of EdTech.
If there’s anything you need, whether it’s just to listen to your venting and to help support with the scary thought of teaching online. I’m here to lend a hand. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. One thing I’ve learned over the years, if I can’t help, I’ll plug away until I can or until I can find someone else who can.
None of us are in this alone. Let’s do this together.