We are teaching in a pandemic. I am teaching first graders who are learning from home. I have decided to use the SOLC as a place to reflect on this experience. I hope this reflection will help me become a better teacher, a better learner, a better literacy coach, and a better person. Maybe it will help others too.
31 Things I’ve Learned from Being a Remote Grade 1 Teacher
Yesterday was the first day of spring, and boy was it a beauty. The sun was shining, temperatures were reaching toward 60 degrees (F), daffodils were working themselves a bit further out of the cold ground, and birds were singing like they were part of the chorus in a musical.
With spring comes hope, and this year I am searching for hope wherever I can find it. Yesterday delivered. Here is what my first day of spring, 2021 looked like:
Wake to a warmer feeling sunshine.
Let the dog out.
Write a slice.
Chat with my husband and daughter.
Play with the cat.
Eat a quick breakfast.
Grab another cup of coffee.
Set up my computer in the sunroom.
Grab my notebook.
Sign in to Zoom.
Prepare for one of my favorite days of learning – The TCRWP Spring Saturday Reunion.
Lucy welcomes us and says things like, We hold the next generation in our hands. We can teach them to be kinder, but only if we are kinder and live our lives in a way that is kinder. (paraphrased)
Marc Brackett reminds us about the importance of self-care and of helping each other. He makes the statement that everyone needs to be granted equal permission to feel.
Natalie Louis talks about upper grade word work and makes the strong statement that teachers need to know phonics, how our language works, and how children learn. She encourages us to understand that there is no one right way. As always, Natalie makes sure she sees all of us (impressive when there are more than 600 on the call).
Lucy puts out a call to action asking that we pause, reflect, recommit, and make choices about what our new world will look like.
10:00 AM: I text my dad, “Do you think it’s warm enough to meet up outside today?” (We haven’t seen each other in person in over 3 months due to the pandemic and the cold weather.)
“Can you come for lunch?” he responds quickly.
“We’ll be there at noon!” (My dad has to eat at noon or he gets cranky.)
Lucy unveils the new units of study in reading and writing and shares the rationale – more inclusive, more responsive to new research; better. I’ve always been impressed by TCRWP’s bravery in constantly reflecting, relearning, and outgrowing themselves and the work.
Anna Sheehan gave tips and materials to help us implement the fantasy unit in grade 5 (virtually or in person).
Lucy and Marilyn Burns (who knew they were friends and spent time together in the Adirondacks. What fun it would be to hang out on the dock, go for a swim, and do some thinking work with these two smart women!) shared their thinking on how writing workshop and mathematics instruction are similar. The key takeaways for me: It’s about process and finding meaning, not just about products and answers. (I think there is another slice here.)
11:30 AM: We order up some sandwiches and head to the deli, then to dad’s for an outdoor lunch. I’m beyond excited to see my dad and his wife. To sit in the same space. No hugs yet, but that’s coming soon!
11:40 AM: Sonya Cherry-Paul (in the car on my phone) provides scenarios and a talk protocol to help us disrupt racism wherever and whenver we see it.
Noon: Lunch at my dad’s basking in the warm sunshine and the warmth of family. I’m so happy. So hopeful.
Afternoon: Walk the dog. Shop for dinner. Walk the dog again (Why not?). Pay some bills (OK, it’s got to get done.). Write another slice. Publish it. Watch Jeapordy (a rerun with Alex). Eat dinner (salmon). Watch a movie (The Rider. It was good.).
10:00 PM: Go to bed.
What a day! I just needed to write about it so that I could experience it all one more time.