"Distance learning is comparable to marathon," one teacher said recently. I totally agree with exception that instead of the wall being at the twenty mile mark it is at mile 13. So what keeps us going as teachers in this environment?
I find it helpful to stay connected on social media, Twitter being my platform of choice, to keep in touch of what is working with other educators. A network colleague of mine recently shared how he used a fairly old concept of two truths and a lie with a Pear Deck during his remote sessions. He, as myself and countless other teachers had struggled with student engagement for the duration of the school year. What he found was that the students came alive as they challenged each other. The key here is that this wasn't part of what would be a typical instructional day, but was a teacher deciding that what content needed to take a back seat as students needs were more important.
I cannot count the number of times that I have looked at my Twitter feed to find an idea that I could quickly implement into my instruction. Most of my instruction is basically a modification of what another teacher did and graciously shared on Twitter. Another colleague on my feed shared an entire website on Mexican-American history in the Los Angeles area which I utilized for my own Westward Expansion unit.
Nothing new here as teachers have been known for their sharing of ideas during conferences and online platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. However, with distance learning being the norm in many locations, local universities and professional organizations have also provided online sessions for the networking to continue. I have benefitted from the California History Social Science Project (CHSSP) various topical content sessions throughout this school year as well as from CUE sessions on platforms and applications that are being utilized in classrooms around the nation.
As the marathon of the school year continues it is important that we as teachers continue our collaborative efforts to support each other. The race will continue to run as we transition into the new school year with different platforms for instruction, but what will make the race easier will be the group breaking the winds of change leading into new learning frontiers.