Prologue: For those of you who have read this column in its previous iterations, it has always been clear that I am trying to write a goofy, satirical, and hopefully humorous column. I have vacillated on the tone I would use for this column. There is an argument for me to maintain the silliness as hopefully something that would lighten our day a bit amidst the continuing isolation or disappointing news. However, some of your questions were far more serious than normal which tells me some of you are craving a little more information. Therefore, I have decided to write two columns, one meant to hit each goal.
This is the serious column:
Question 1: Vailea asks “Is cancelling a school a serious possibility right now? If so, what would that mean for next year? Would we have to repeat?
Hi Vailea – hope you are doing okay in the midst of all of this. Canceling school completely is not something we have ever considered. However, it is very possible that we will have distance learning for the rest of the year. In that situation, this year would finish just like a normal year with the normal graduations for students who meet all of the requirements. Maintaining distance learning is allowing students to graduate, and other students to be promoted to the next grade.
Question 2: Red asks, “Will our school days get harder by lengthening blocks and increasing the number of them per day as our possible return date continues to get pushed back?”
Hi Red – hope you are doing okay in the midst of all of this. We will not be lengthening school days or current instruction time beyond the current 9:00am to 3:00pm window. We might revise the schedule as we learn what works best for students however.
Question 3: KookKid asks, “How do I call out people for not following social distancing without being mean?”
Hi KoolKid – hope you are doing okay in the midst of all of this. This is a tough one, and something everyone is struggling with. I have found sharing this video to be pretty successful to start a conversation…as well as haunting about how much data third party groups can get from our cell phones. In the end, here’s what convinced me the most. We can all agree that doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff are working insane hours and risking their lives to help our sick. They are heroes…plain and simple. Based on where we live and our community, many of these people are our mothers, our fathers, our close friends, etc. They are asking me to stay home. I’m gonna stay home.
Question 4: Ash asks, “What are some new methods for staying organized for classes during distance learning?’
Hi Ash – hope you are doing okay in the midst of all of this. I could write about this for hours…but here are two tools I use, particularly when I have to do a lot of digital work.
1. Pomodoro – Pomodoro is a technique of 20 minutes of work and 5 minutes of break at a time, with a long break mixed in after 3 work sessions. I even have a little add-on to my google browser
to click when I start working. It is so key for me to get up every 20 minutes and walk around, pet the dog, or just do something non-digital.
2. One of the downsides to being at home is the amount of questions that we aren’t exposed to. Even if we don’t tend to ask questions, we are often in classes where questions are asked all of the time. We benefit from hearing those questions. Sometimes, people’s questions lead to your own questions as well. To me, this is the scariest part of distance learning…the loss of questions. Real learning that lasts is about the questions we ask and the questions we pursue, not the information we receive. So ask questions. Make it a point to ask at least one question per class, per day. Ask on Zoom…ask by email….send a carrier pigeon if you have to!!
Question 5: So many of you ask a variation of a question along the lines of “how are you dealing with social isolation / what hobbies are you trying / how are you coping?”
Be Mindful. Be Grateful. I gotta be honest…I was a skeptic for a long time but if it works for the Navy Seals it works for me.
1. This is the best time of year for this to happen b/c at least I can go outside and take walks with my dog. Imagine if it were July!
2. I have learned more about how amazing my children’s teachers are in the past 2 weeks than 10 years of parenting.
3. I have tried a couple new things (including woodworking) and failed miserably. It is actually kind of fun to fail at something that doesn’t matter.
4. I am so, so glad that it is 2020. This level of contact would not be possible even five years ago.
5. I have heard multiple students tell me, “I just want to go back to school.” Not exaggerating…multiple. It warms my heart each time and will make me even more appreciative for what I do.
1. I know that I will get frustrated. I will get frustrated with technology, frustrated without being able to do everything I want, and frustrated with my family members for some reason that is insignificant. I take a breath, I forgive myself, and then I work to address the situation. And if that doesn’t work I watch a short YouTube to make myself giggle and reset. I will admit that my utter kryptonite is YouTubes of dogs greeting soldiers returning home from war. Gets me every time.