I Never Thought I'd Be A Virtual Teacher
We had our final Zoom call for preschool yesterday. The Coronavirus shut us down more than 2 months ago. It was abrupt, scary, confusing, hard, isolating, stressful, sad, frustrating, boring, and the kids didn't like it either! ;).
I never trained for virtual teaching. I am a hands-on, run outside, rocket blasting, ooey-gooey, hug giving, creation encouraging, story telling, silly song singing, foot painting, nature loving, relationship building, sensory rich environment having, no technology in the classroom type teacher. That is what these amazing families signed up for. They knew I would give every child everything I had everyday. And then... Covid19. I could not, in good conscience, continue charging tuition if we were not going to be able to be in the classroom. There are several reasons I came to this conclusion.
First let me say that there are programs that would have to close permanently if they did not receive tuition and those amazing teachers have been teaching their hearts out the best they can virtually. This is hard, really hard, and there are amazing and understanding parents willing to pay something for some kind of preschool experience for their kids to continue in. Kudos to those parents and programs working together to stay afloat.
However, I know my personality and if I were to charge tuition I would drive myself absolutely crazy every single day worrying that I wasn't doing enough, reaching enough of the children, or making enough of a difference.
So, I opted for a weekly Zoom call and virtual stories twice a week, no tuition necessary. I immediately took a Teaching Virtually course from Fairy Dust Teaching(online, of course) and then I went for it. There were a few kids that attended every single time, bless their little hearts! I was surprised how much thought, time and effort went into putting these together for just 30-45 minutes of time each week. The goal was to connect, let the kids see and talk to each other, do some familiar routine things, let them know I am ok, and that I care about them. It meant as much or more to me than it did them.
For the first 5 weeks we also made take-home learning kits for families to pickup outside. There were generous families that made donations for materials so we could do this. When I say "we" I have a very dedicated teacher working with me this year that was there every step of the way making kits and reaching out virtually to her classes as well.
Restrictions are easing somewhat now and we are planning a Good-Bye party for next month so we can have some closure. I can't wait to see these super heros and their super hero parents in person next month!