Man, oh Man, oh Man. Not in anyone’s wildest imagination could we have seen this one coming! Wash Your Hands. Social Distancing. Distance Teaching. Self Isolation. This is all crazy talk, right? Man, oh Man, oh Man.
This is now week three for me. The first two weeks were “review”…don’t add instruction, just maintain your classes until further notice. This Monday we were permitted to restart instruction and move our classes forward. We’ve gone to an A/B schedule. I teach all my classes on “A” Day. I was so happy to teach my Music Theory class – they are simply a dream and it was just great seeing them on ZOOM – (which is such a life-saver here)! My Chorale class is being co-managed by our student teacher. My Concert Choir was set to share their DECADES show on the 19th. My A Cappella Choir had tickets to see Ain’t to Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations this Saturday and had a trip to a Music in the Parks – Hershey trip planned for May. Canceled and refunded.
As teachers, we watched the internet become FLOODED with a bazillion “great” ideas for distance teaching…of course, the biggest question circled around virtual choirs, with folks thinking that you just need to gather the kids on the screen and “POOF”, it’s a well-balanced, beautifully blended choral sound. (It doesn’t happen quite that way…)
The last sentence of this article says it all…
Teachers feeling pressure in every single direction, especially if they became responsible for teaching their own children at home…or if they have older relatives who are now living alone…or if their spouses/partners have lost their jobs – that list goes on and on. Everyone in a house now vying for PC/MAC use and hoping they have enough bandwidth to cover the new normal. Crazy times.
Folks have taken to writing to try and put words to this mess. With permission, I share these thoughts from two colleagues who have captured what many of us have been feeling so succinctly…This from Tom V.
So, I have been wanting to post what it is like teaching online for a while now. I wanted to tell you that music teachers have this and are doing great. However, let me tell you the truth. It sucks. Not because I can’t do it. I have been working 24/7 figuring it out. It sucks because the kids aren’t there in front of you. They aren’t taking chances, they aren’t singing wrong notes, so I can fix them, they aren’t telling me their problems, they aren’t telling me there hopes, they aren’t telling me that they will work harder, they aren’t asking to go to the bathroom, they aren’t sneaking on their cell phones, they aren’t engaged like I expect every day. Oh, I could go on and on. You might even think this is like a vacation for teachers. But, no, it is heart-wrenching. Every day it is trying to keep them engaged in an unknown world. I pride myself as a teacher who can keep it real every day. This is hard. I have to admit it. But all of the tried and true teachers are doing their best in a workplace that is unknown. Just thought you all should hear it.
And this, from Joe P.
It’s surreal. You wake up the same time everyday as always, follow the routine you’ve followed for decades, only to sit alone in a room with a laptop computer. The warmth of their smiles and the sound of their music is gone, replaced by the cold, blueish glow of a tablet or your iPhone. For those who have suggested that this may catch on, that when this is over, many will have come to the conclusion that online learning is the way to go, obviously have or had a different experience than mine.
Teachers schedule ZOOM or Google Hangout meetings and kids don’t show. We know some don’t have PC’s at home. We know some depended on school for lunch. We know so much about all these kids because we were on the front lines of their health and well-being, not to mention their Choral Music Education. And now we post assignments in Google Classroom because there needs to be a grade on a report card that will help finish the school year. Crazy times.
So, as I have in the past, I’ll post some of what I have assigned and some of what I have done and if you can use it, please do. The most fun I’ve had with the kids was this past Monday when my A Cappella Choir “met” at 7p on ZOOM and after we all caught up with one another, I scheduled and IN-HOUSE SCAVENGER HUNT. 4 slides – Simple Rules – Keep the ZOOM on and I heard giggles and laughter and kids being kids again – even if it only lasted about 20 minutes…
I discovered Doreen Fryling’s blog and fashioned the next few weeks of assignments from it for my Concert Choir – thanking her a million times for this generosity.
Here is the link to her blog:
Here are two of the assignments I fashioned from her suggestions:
And this appeared online pretty early on…
We’re all trying. Exploring and sharing in a new frontier. I told all my classes, early in the week, that I think we needed to think about all of this through the lens of the Five Stages of Grief since I felt as though we had all lost something of magnitude in our lives, however that was defined. Today I received this in an email…which continues to define and redefine what we are feeling. It’s a great read.
And we’ve got to be grateful for the humor – the memes – the photos and videos that folks are creating and posting and sharing to do their best to remain connected. It’s affected everyone for sure.
So my friends, stay safe. Wash your hands. Keep your social distance. Stay at home. Drink wine. Play board games. Binge watch TV. ZOOM with your family and friends. Do what you can to flatten the curve ’cause We’re all in this together… (cue choreo and song).
As always, thanks for reading.