Tonight I poured myself a glass of red wine. It was deep, robust and bold. Kinda how I’ve been feeling all week. I trained over 100 teachers for distance learning this week and introduced four different curriculums, each one having its own nuanced resources and learning platforms. I had to learn it myself and then introduce them to teachers. Like students, teachers have their own way of learning so instructing teachers online, via zoom, was met with challenges. Some couldn’t get online, some had tech glitches, some said I talked too fast, some said I talked too slow. Over all the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Teachers thanked me for sharing and pointing them to resources that they never knew existed. They expressed that they felt more prepared to teach. Some went out of their way and thanked me via email rather than the feedback form. Another teacher was almost in tears. Being able to help teachers has been weighing heavily on my mind; I feared that I didn’t have the knowledge and the experience to assist during distance learning. To my surprise, not only did I realize that I have the capacity to ease some tension and frustration, but teachers realized it too. Cheers!
Next Monday is the first day of school, and like many districts in California, South San Francisco is starting the school year in distance learning. While there are many ways to support teachers during this time, I thought it could be helpful to give gift recommendations that surpass the usual — kleenex, paper, hand sanitizer, pencils. Since teachers will be conducting their classrooms via Zoom or Google Meets, why not gift the teacher with tools to make the distance learning more comfortable and beautiful. Here are my three gifts ideas for teachers who are using zoom.
1) Chair cushion: teachers will be sitting down on their chairs, why not make it more comfortable by giving them a cushy chair cushion?
2) Headphones with a microphone – to keep things more private, teachers can wear headphones and with a microphone; students will also be able to hear the teacher better.
3) Lamp or ring light – it’s a known fact that lighting makes all the difference for video conferencing. Teachers needs to look their best, especially in the morning when the sun isn’t at its highest. Providing a lamp or ring light can be nice gestures to bring the spotlight back on the teacher.
I would have never imagined that in 2020 these gift suggestions would make sense. But here we are at the start of a new decade, 6 months in COVID/ sheltering in place, and approaching the first school year with distance learning. Perhaps teachers won’t be able to return to their classroom, but in our own ways, we can help make things easier at home by providing some comfort, sound and light.
Good luck to all the teachers!