With only one lovely week off between the end of the regular term and the beginning of the six week special education summer session many students and teachers were not jumping for joy to return to school this week.
I have to say I was among them. I definitely would have liked to have a few more beach days. Besides for one rainy day, I spent the majority of my week off swimming, and reading. It was a very chill week.
That being said, it was good to see my students this week and hear about the exciting things they did with their families during their time off. Children have a different time continuum. They pack everything they remember doing during a week into a description of what happened on one day. It never fails to make me smile.
To overcome my students’ summer school blahs I made sure to put on my silliest Miss Jan show, doing my best to incite smiles and giggles, while my students practiced the skills they needed to. Don’t tell my administration but those smiles and giggles are what keeps me coming back each year, each summer, not the pay.
It’s been a long haul of tele-teaching for everyone involved teachers, students, parents, grandparents etc. And we’re all looking forward to the break. Even if its only a week.
The last few weeks before summer break are usually hard in regards to kids concentration. The better weather which comes toward the end of the school year brings with it more fun things to do outside rather than inside. Now that kids are home it makes it even harder. If they’re playing in the backyard or lucky enough to have a pool they don’t want to come inside to do work even if your teacher makes it as fun as possible.
I’ve been super lucky with the parents I’ve worked with. As a teacher for the visually impaired I really needed parents to help me out. Visual skills like tracking and scanning are best taught one to one, and in person. Every parent I’ve worked with really rose to the occasion of providing targets and following my directions to help their child strengthen and develop their visual skill levels.
They’ve taped paths and mazes on their floors, made letter targets from post-its, blown bubbles or balloons for their child to track. They’ve been open to arts and crafts, painting, playdoh etc. They’ve participated in silliness and fun to engage their child and make learning happen. And with the last two weeks ahead of us I’ve reached out to them to make sure I tailor my lessons to focus their child’s skill practice to their specific interests whether its princesses, construction sites, spiders, you name it. I’ll be pulling out all the stops from puppet play, songs etc. It will be exhausting for me, probably their parents too, but if a child is laughing they’re learning.
The students I have are mandated to have summer sessions in order to maintain their skill levels so there’s not much of a break before having to go back, in fact it’s only one week. But after even such a little break the kids are usually happy to come back to the structure they’re used to, see their friends and get involved again.
My pre-school has just announced that we will continue with remote learning during the summer. I applaud this. Children who are ages 2-5 are not good with social distancing, or wearing masks. And if they’re having a rough day they need hugs.
I know some parents were upset, feeling it is somehow a bureaucratic decision that is preventing their child from returning to school but, having lost a family member to COVID-19, I feel the school made the only right decision.
The safety and health of the children, their families and all who come in contact while caring for their children is the most important factor in the decision to continue remote learning during the summer session.
Tele-teaching/remote learning is not easy and I’ve read that it’s not been as successful as many hoped, but it was in my case and in the case of my students. I imagine I’m not the only one who feels that way.
I’m looking forward to finishing up this school year and having a week off. Then beginning a safe healthy remote summer session.