Yes, I couldn’t resist 🙂 Hope that you enjoyed the day. My son and I celebrated by watching the new (and final) episode of Clone Wars.
Safe to say, the last several weeks have been a little bit….nutso.
This spring, we hosted our huge middle school show choir competition. The week after that, I accepted a new teaching position for next fall. I was looking at taking a big break during Spring Break.
And then the virus hit.
The past few weeks have been a race to learn new technology, shift teaching strategies, and alter (or change altogether) curriculum. I’ve talked to students that are stressed, parents that are stressed, and teachers that are SUPER stressed. And in the midst of this unprecedented time, there’s one takeaway that I keep coming back to again and again:
Less is more!
When school started moving online, the mad dash to get “virtual school” set up was like prospectors ambushing California during the Gold Rush! Teachers threw themselves into the daunting task, many using the situation as an opportunity to try new things.
The problem? As quickly as teachers got things put in place, students (and parents) even more quickly became overwhelmed. Many schools, in their rush to make sure that learning continued, forgot to think about the situation from the student and parent perspective. They forgot to think about, for instance, what it would be like for a student to receive an email from each of their teachers, every single day, with “content” for them to choose from.
Some schools also didn’t think about the inequity that is present–especially the lack of devices/consistent wifi service and inconsistent parental support and supervision.
I, too, had grand designs for bringing new ideas and technology to my teaching. And after one Zoom meeting with my students, I knew I had to dial everything back. You could just see the tension and the stress on my students’ faces. They did not need more subject matter in that moment–they were sad, stressed, depressed, even afraid. They needed support and connection, both to me and to their fellow singers.
Kudos to all of the teachers out there that have been willing to go outside of the box to adjust to online teaching. But folks, less is more. Dial back the content, and dial up the opportunities for your students to connect with you and each other, because that’s truly what they need in this time.
That being said, I have incorporated some new activities into my teaching over the past few weeks. And when I talk with other choir directors, the conversation almost always turns to questions concerning what and how am I teaching online. So, this week I will be posting each day about a different idea, activity or piece of technology that you could use to further the online experience for your choir members.
Let me know if you have questions about anything I discuss this week. I hope you are all healthy, staying safe, and that your online teaching is going well. May the 4th Be with You!