DESIREE672
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Online teaching.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

I have two weeks of online teaching left this term. What a ride it's been! I found an amazing article online about the experience of online teaching. Now I can't find it, but it was the sort of writing which put into words what I couldn't express. I wish I could write like that.

The first two weeks were hell and I didn't know how I could survive it. The second two weeks, I felt I could do it, but I still didn't like it, but a new computer helped a lot. The last few weeks, I've found some satisfaction and even some good points, but the biggest thing is the same as other teachers are experiencing. It's very draining. I sometimes finish at lunchtime and go straight to bed and sleep solid for a couple of hours.

The preparation takes hours more than before because I need to retype so much material that I used to just throw on the photocopier and take to class. I can't leave anything to chance and have to plan a lesson that fills up all of the 100 minutes because you can't pick up and expand on what comes up spontaneously during the lesson. You can't judge the general atmosphere so as to stop an activity when students are getting tired, and you can't judge when they're not understanding so that you can clarify. There's a small delay between speaking and hearing so you have to remember to take it slowly. If you say "Mmm" while a student is speaking, their mike cuts out.

Many students refuse to turn their cameras on, so you can spend a whole class teaching to a black screen. It's understandable because quite a few students don't live in comfortable situations, and you can see right into their bedrooms. It was funny after one class because some students popped on their cameras right at the end to wave good-bye, and one was emerging from under her futon, and another emerged with purple hair. I hadn't seen her until then. I work mostly seven days a week. Correcting their homework by email is finicky and very time-consuming compared with whipping your way through a sheaf of papers with a red pen.

Some of the satisfactions are that the students are good at communicating by email, and I can instantaneously help them out instead of waiting till next week. Some students send me emails to thank me, which is very cheering, and I'm surprised at how nice and polite their emails are. I feel less intimidated by computers as I get to spend so much time in front of one. I do actually find myself enjoying solving technical difficulties now where in the past, I was more likely to fantasize taking a hammer to it.

Being an introvert, teaching in front of a computer doesn't take so much adrenaline as standing in front of 35 students and teaching them. I learnt from the Internet recently that when you're stressed, the excess adrenaline breaks down mucous membranes and you collect bits of gunk in the corners of your mouth. I wouldn't vouch for it because the man speaking wasn't a medical person, but I often wondered why that happened to me in class. So maybe the stresses of this style of teaching are balanced out by some advantages. I certainly don't miss the hours of crowded commuting, and I can spend more time with DH.

We're probably going on to some hybrid of class and online teaching next term. Some parts of this experience have made me rethink some of my teaching methods. Maybe it's a pity that I'm only going to be teaching another semester before retiring. Then again......maybe not. I'm certainly looking forward to the summer vacation in two weeks.
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  • BUTTONPOPPER1
    Well, Margaret, I missed this blog when it came out a month ago, but I'm glad I checked your blog list today, because I found your story fascinating. I have been wondering what online teaching is like, and your anecdotes give a vivid picture. It must be touching to receive those thank-you emails from your students and to be able to help them immediately if they have questions. But I can see how hard it might be to teach to a black screen! My goodness--that must have felt strange the first time you did that. It's hard enough for me to teach people who are all wearing masks. Our voices are all muffled, and you can't really tell much about how they're feeling if all you can see is their eyes. But still--I'm grateful that one company is still having in-person lessons so I can go out twice a week. I have no new classes scheduled after mid-September, as the companies seem to be proceeding with caution underpresent circumstances. It's great that you can continue your work from the comfort of your home and save time on the commute. I hope the fall classes go smoothly and you'll be used to this kind of teaching enough that it won't be quite so exhausting.

    Anyway, I hope you are having a wonderful summer break!
    emoticon
    39 days ago
  • JURASSICSUE
    I am so pleased that this is working out well for you. You worked so hard to make this massive adjustment. It was a real challenge but you've pulled it off and it must make you so proud. I hope you get a chance to rest properly over the summer.

    My daughter was due to go back to university in the autumn to retrain for a new career. She's been told it will all be online for the first year and it has made her question whether to go or not.
    60 days ago
  • KENDRACARROLL
    You're turning into an online teaching pro :)
    Just a few more days - enjoy your summer vacation!
    emoticon
    64 days ago
  • BESSHAILE
    What an adventure - no wonder you're exhausted. I wonder - are you finding different students are excelling or sliding backwards from the way they progressed in a physical classroom. I should think the introverted students would really do well with on-line teaching. That extra layer of separation between them and others would feel safer. But then - they are young - and the discipline of participating on-line really calls for maturity. It's as if you made a career change a year before you retired.

    I'm really impressed by how much you've achieved. Well - 2 weeks (now less) to go till the break and then one more term. And then you get to join the ranks of the retired - and I hope you thoroughly enjoy it. Just remember that first off - you may need lots of sleep - the emotional release of not having to get ready any more had me napping for about 2 months - and I loved every moment of it.

    Sending you Big Hugs
    65 days ago
  • POLSKARENIA
    Well done for embracing the challenge of online teaching!
    Not long now and it will be but a distant memory!
    66 days ago
  • MICKEYH
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    67 days ago
  • OHMEMEME
    Retired teacher here says thank you for all you do!
    Going into year 4 of retirement and loving it!
    Best wishes to you for a well-deserved break and the final frontier of your career!
    67 days ago
  • WATERMELLEN
    What a roller coaster -- and you're sure aware of the ups and the downs. Two more weeks, then vacation . . . and light at the end of the tunnel too. But it's so interesting all of the new things you've learned, both about computer methodology and about yourself too.
    68 days ago
  • 1CRAZYDOG
    That's awesome that you're getting comfortable w/this style teaching! Good to be flexible. HUGS
    68 days ago
  • MARITIMER3
    I'm proud of you. You stuck with it, and conquered the challenge. I think a lot of places will be going to a hybrid teaching model in the fall (in Canada school is from September to May or June). The province of Ontario has left it up to the school boards to come up with plans... not everyone will be doing the same thing. Some of the options are for classes of no more than 15 people; half day at the school, half day online; using community centres as well as schools to adapt to smaller classes... which would mean hiring a lot more teachers... they have 6 weeks to get it all set up.


    68 days ago
  • MEADSBAY
    Wow...what a great explanation of your evolution to an online teacher.
    You explained so well the advantages and disadvantages.
    My DIL is a middle school English/LA teacher and she and her students really struggled with it for the last three months, especially as she was managing the education of two of her little ones while my son managed the youngest, and managing a household at the same time!
    emoticon
    68 days ago
  • EISSA7
    You have almost made it...WHAT an experience, huh?? Glad to hear that your well-deserved vacation is approaching .... a breather from the 7 day a week stress will be a welcome time for YOU to focus on YOU!
    Well done, Margaret! emoticon
    68 days ago
  • NELLJONES
    In the old days, all teaching was done by lecture and memorization, there were students who did well that way, and some that didn't. Some kids thrive with online learning, some don't. I suppose we won't know the result of this forced experiment for years.
    68 days ago
  • NEW-CAZ
    I recall how nervous you were Margaret and look at you now!!
    emoticon emoticon you should be proud of your new skills.
    And it should give you the confidence to try something else emoticon

    Happy Thursday emoticon
    68 days ago
  • IMLOCOLINDA
    I'm happy you are so much more comfortable with it than in the beginning! A few "silver linings" in the dark clouds! Who knows what is next for any of us, any where?!
    69 days ago
  • DAIZYSTARLITE
    emoticon
    69 days ago
  • ZRIE014
    thanks
    69 days ago
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