Virtual learning is difficult.
Virtual teaching might be more difficult.
I learned that much and more when I surprised a third grade reading class and joined their virtual classroom recently.
I had worked with their teacher to surprise them and join them while I was live on air during my radio show.
When I first joined the room, there was the madness of 15+ kids screaming and laughing.
I told them we were on-air and they gasped and had a bunch of questions that they all wanted to shout out at once.
So many screens full of little faces were popping up across my monitor, I had no idea where to look.
After I got off the air, I stayed on the call for about 10 more minutes to talk to the kids and answer their questions.
It got a little more organized then as they were instructed to raise their hands and mute their mics when they weren’t speaking.
I got questions asking me if I knew someone who worked at the radio station or if I remembered the time when one of the kids came to the station with his mother. Of course, some of them couldn’t believe I was really at the radio station so I hit a button and let them listen to the song that was playing at that very moment.
All in all, I had a wonderful time interacting with the students and maybe making their Friday a little better.
HOWEVER, what I did learn was that…..teachers are not human.
I was only on the call for 15 minutes and I was WORN OUT. There was so much going on on the screen. From kids having questions to one kid just talking with his mic turned wayyyyyyy up, it was just organized chaos.
I have no idea how elementary school teachers have the patience to teach these virtual classes.
And I don’t say that meaning that the kids are bad. They aren’t. They are just full of energy and having them all sit in front of a different screen, trying to teach them reading, spelling, math, or some other lesson they need to know….is a tough sell.
I could NOT sit still when I was that age. I imagine not many of us could.
I would have been TERRIBLE at virtual learning. I was a very hands-on learner. I could soak everything up in class and not have to study. It was just the way I learned.
I’m not writing this as an endorsement or an indictment of virtual learning.
School administrators have a tough job deciding what is best for their students and none of them take that responsibility lightly.
There is no COVID handbook for administrators, students, parents, or any of us.
I didn’t think I could hold teachers in any higher regard than I already did, but after my experience in the virtual classroom, I do.
Say thank you to the teachers in your life….and if you are a praying person….say a prayer for them too.