New school year, new grade level, new classroom, same struggle. How to find balance?
Starting the year online again was not in my “plans” last June. This was my summer of “lying like mud” as my friend, Ellen phrases it- I did almost nothing. Bit by bit it became clear that we would be starting the year online and I “got ready” for the new school year by reading lots of books fifth graders might like and quiet things like that.
Then August 2 came and we had three days of teacher work days and there was no more quiet. I left school each day with a slightly sore throat because I was not used to that much talking (never mind the mask wearing all day again). My balance struggles center around not feeling like I can turn off the computer when the school day is over- there is always more work to respond to, emails to answer.
Today was day nine with kids and I can see them challenged by balance too. How to curtail their almost insatiable love of online gaming, Tik Tok watching, etc. when that laptop is right there. I let them know that I can often see the changing light reflected on their foreheads or glinting in their eyes. Parents warned me “Be sure she keeps her camera on, so you can make sure she is paying attention to you.” How to balance choice, community, individual responsibility?
We do not have all of our lessons synchronously and some work is completed on paper, some online- what is the right balance there? Too many Zooms? Too few? Is everyone getting what they need? Do they have what they need to be successful?
Many students do not have books available to them, so what about reading online? They can borrow books from the library as of this week, but have to reserve them so they are waiting for them at the gate- what if they do not get books this way?
I feel like in this third school year with at least a temporary component of online school I still struggle with balance- both for me and for the students and I wish there were “right answers”.
A wondering bit of what’s inside my brain right now slice.