I find teaching a great deal of fun; it’s challenging and it keeps me on my toes. As a middle-aged man there are many benefits of being with young people to keep one active, current and impactful.
Typically my day would start at about 5:15 am when my alarm would go off. I would crawl out of bed, walk the dogs, drink some coffee, have some breakfast then drive the 15 minutes to the Homewood Center. My day was governed by the periods I taught and the ‘feel’ of the school.
Teaching virtually is not nearly as enjoyable. Although now I can roll out of bed at 7:30 I do miss the personal contact and personal touch that teaching affords. It’s almost impossible to get the ‘pulse’ of the class through a computer screen. In our brick and mortar school, The Homewood Center, I can usually tell the interest level of my activities by how glazed over the eyes of my students look. I can say to myself ‘cool – this is working – I’m going with it’ or ‘it’s time to wrap this up and go onto something new.’ Not a day would go by that I didn’t learn something new about a novel we were reading, one of my students, or just something new in general.
With distance learning I don’t get a chance to see many students, as many elect to mute and not use the cameras, which is fine, but I do miss seeing their faces. There are few questions about the class work and I miss using the anchor texts as a limelight into the real and fictitious world. I miss moving around the classroom, engaging students and helping each one through his or her day. Teaching is an art in terms of knowing how to adjust. I miss the challenge of helping students become lifelong readers and the occasional ‘hey, that book was really great.’
On the other hand, I know that some of my students for a variety of reasons have benefitted from distance learning. In these cases I really enjoy the feedback I get from them in terms of how to improve my lessons or make the work more interesting. In a virtual learning environment, I am also able to offer more choices for students for the week’s lesson.
But still, I’ll look forward to getting back to school, sitting at my desk and watching the students walking into my class. I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.