Unprecedented has been defined as “never before known or experienced event” and uncharted waters as “a new and unknown area”. This pretty much sums up the past two weeks in the lives of the entire world from economics, to the health care system and of course the education of all students K-12 in many provinces across Canada. Initially, cancellations of many school events to the end of April seemed reasonable, but once the decision to suspend in-class learning became a reality, approximately 18,000 Grade 12 students in Manitoba will not be able to walk across the stage to receive their diploma, a significant milestone that represents a lot of hard work and the beginning of a new journey.
With in-class learning suspended indefinitely, teaching looks very different. I witnessed first-hand teachers embracing the challenge of rethinking how they were going to connect with their students. The insurmountable learning curve has just become a reality for the entire world. No longer is there physical face-to-face interaction but with the advancement of technology, teachers are doing face-to-face with their students through Hangouts, GoMeet, Zoom etc. Doing assignments through Google classroom allows the teachers to measure success.
It has been a huge learning curve for all of us, many are working from home, In the last two weeks, I have learned how to use Google classroom, Go Meet, Hangouts, Zoom, What’s App, voice over for Google slides to create presentations and the list goes on and on. I know first hand the amount of work our teachers do in the classroom and in a short period of time they have moved from their classroom to each individual student’s home via this amazing thing called Technology, emergency remote learning, not online teaching. There is a huge difference. Here is a link to an article I read recently regarding this – a great read for anybody who is connected to the educational system - .Emergency Remote Learning
On Thursday April 2, I had my first experience helping my grandson with his ELA assignment via Hangouts. I had the opportunity to hear him read his novel to me and then discuss and answer questions. I want him to succeed, I want my granddaughter to succeed. I know that their teachers and parents are working hard together to make this new adventure work.
Our role, whether a teacher, parent, grandparent, counsellor, mentor, we all have an opportunity to make an impact on those entrusted to us. Everything has changed, what we had yesterday we may not have tomorrow, but it will be something better if we are willing to embrace these new uncharted waters.