If given the choice to remain in the physical classroom or go virtual, which would you choose? For many families and teachers, this is the choice they’ve been faced with recently, including myself. I have chosen online teaching.
I’m blessed to teach in a district that both quickly pivoted in March when quarantine first began and quickly came to a decision for this school year.
Over the summer, my school district offered families and teachers three options:
- A full five day model back in the classroom
- A full five day virtual model.
- A hybrid model which includes a combination of the two.
It didn’t take me long to decide the full virtual model and to transition to online teaching.
Unsurprisingly, my number one reason is my family. I am a mom to three children: an 18 year college freshman, a 15 year old high school freshman, and a soon to be two year old.
I chose online teaching for my family’s health and sanity.Tweet
Prior to Covid 19, my family was always on the go and always working. Never in a million years did I think I’d enjoy being home, but I love it!
My marriage is thriving, we sit down for dinner more often as a family, we take regular walks together, and thankfully, we have remained healthy.
My second reason for transitioning to the virtual classroom has to do with my students. When children, go home from school, where do they spend their time? Yes, on electronics.
We truly live in a 21st century world. According to ABC News, “Teens spend an average of seven hours and 22 minutes on their phones a day, and tweens — ages 8 to 12 — are not far behind, at four hours and 44 minutes daily, according to a new report by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that promotes safe technology and media for children.”
Every year, I am shocked by the number of my students who spend a large portion of their day on various electronics: phones, tablets, laptops, video games, and TV screens. Many children and teens know how to use technology for entertainment, but few know how to use technology as a learning tool.
This is where I come in. We as teachers, students, and families literally have a remarkable tool at our fingertips. A tool that allows us to not just be consumers, but innovators.
For many students, the traditional 8am-3pm brick and mortar school with desks in rows and columns is not educationally effective. In 2017, I ditched my desks and transitioned to flexible seating, but I still felt as though there was more.
This year, in 2020, I have the privilege of rethinking education, of thinking outside the box, and meeting students where they are… online.
My third and final reason is a little more selfish and has to do with me. Just as I stated a moment ago how the traditional classroom isn’t the most effective for students, perhaps the traditional classroom isn’t most effective for me either.
After attending three different colleges in my late teens, I finally earned my bachelors degree and teaching credential online through Western Governors University. Most recently while pregnant and teaching full time, I earned my Masters degree in administration online through Concordia University. I therefore, am no stranger to online learning.
As a blogger, social media influencer, and educational technology presenter, I am pretty savvy when it comes to various technology tools. When distance learning began in March, the necessity to use technology tools threw off many teachers, students, and families. I however, thrived.
My time is valuable. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, so when someone says, “I don’t have time to do ______,” this is an excuse. The problem is not in having time. The problem is in prioritizing your time.
Online teaching has given me the ability to prioritize my time, be productive, and remain positive. This last piece is key. We are who we surround ourselves with.
Through this time of quarantine, I have leaned into my entrepreneurial self and began my small business through a well-known direct selling company. Monday through Friday my day begins with a 7am Zoom call after my morning workout. During this call, we start by reading a devotional and then are coached, mentored, and encouraged.
I’m thankful for online teaching which provides me the flexibility to prepare lessons, grade, and provide instruction in a different capacity than the traditional classroom.
To my fellow teachers, if given the choice, which model would you choose and why? To my fellow moms and dads, if given the choice which model would you choose for your child and why? Comment below. I’d love to hear from you!