Teaching and Learning

Still Don’t Know Anything…

Still ruminating on my May post, entitled “I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

Remember when we were teenagers and knew everything? My youngest daughter is there now. She’s 18, about to start college in a month, and knows it all. Until she doesn’t. And then she seeks me out, with her hands full of anxiety and doubt, and wants me to figure it out for her. Unless it’s cooking. She knows not to ask me about anything kitchen related. That’s a grandma question.

Even if it’s not cooking-related, I can’t always figure it out for her. Sometimes I can, but oftentimes I’m searching for the answers with her.

So when I see these books being published about how to teach during a pandemic, I’m quite honestly flummoxed. Even those of us who have been teaching via distance learning, independent study models for years don’t necessarily know how to teach during a pandemic.

Yes, I’ve taught college online for 12 years now. Yes, I’ve built and taught high school classes online. Yes I taught middle school in a 1:1 blended learning model. But those were all to people who either chose to learn in that environment, or were supported through trainings and tools before being expected to fully learn that way. Not people who were thrust there while also being worried about sickness, job loss, and bandwidth reliability.

I’m sure there’s many of us who have been in the exact same position as this kiddo!

So if you’re beating yourself up because you don’t have all the answers and you think others do, stop. Don’t buy from the snake oil salesperson. We’re all struggling, children and teachers and parents alike. It’s called “unprecedented” for a reason!

As I said in earlier posts, do the best you can and give yourself grace. Take care of your mental health by stepping away a bit. Call a friend and don’t talk shop (or do, if that helps!). Watch silly Tik Toks for a while. Pet a furry animal (as long as it isn’t rabid!).

Remember, none of us have all the answers. But I’m here, as well as thousands of others on Twitter, Facebook, etc., if you need someone to listen to your questions and ideate some potential responses or just to listen.

3 Comments

  • Lori Meaux

    Thank you. I felt comforted by your words. I’m struggling to be the teacher I was “before” distance learning. The leader, the requested one, the one who facilitated student growth. Now I’m floundering and I’ve lost my confidence. I don’t show it to my students or parents, but I feel it.

    • Laura Spencer – San Diego, CA – I've been teaching since I was old enough to speak! Former high/middle school English and Yearbook teacher, I am now an edu administrator focused on transformative learning experiences for students and teachers. In my (not so) spare time, I also teach college courses on learning design, Ed Tech, and educational pedagogy.

      Laura Spencer

      Honestly Lori, if you did not feel that way, I’d be worried. You’re a different teacher now because it’s a different reality. That’s okay. I have confidence in you

  • Erick Carpenter – The road – We are on a road trip FOR a Lifetime. YAHOO!

    Erick Carpenter

    I cannot imagine what it takes right now to teach to a huge number of children under an abnormal amount of stress. In the classroom? No way. On Line? Now you are dreaming. I have been attending college online now for more years than I care to count. But as an adult. With the barrage of media, and the lack of any normalicy? I cannot dream of having to do this as a child or a young man/woman. Those that are trying to accomplish that? My hat is off to you. There is no right or wrong here, there is only do. Do the best you can, that is all anyone can ask. Take a moment to breathe. Then drop your chin and try again. These are extraordinary times, requiring all of us to be extraordinary people. Together.

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