I remember my first year teaching pretty well. As most teachers do, I suppose.
The reason isn’t the first-day jitters I felt, followed by months-long nagging self-doubt, though (despite there being plenty of both). It’s because just a couple weeks before I was to meet my students for the first time, 9/11 happened.
I was a first-year graduate student at Eastern Washington University, just outside Spokane. My title of teaching assistant was something of a misnomer, I would quickly find out. The program was small, so I would get to teach my English 101 class independently and create my own curriculum. I didn’t have time to panic about what I’d gotten myself into. The reality of life in a post-9/11 world was far too jarring to leave any room for that.
Graduate school wasn’t the first time my school life was disrupted by world events. My middle school years, years I spent overseas attending an American school, were regularly interrupted by bomb threats. The First Gulf War made the headlines daily. It also made a pre-K–12 school flying the Stars and Stripes a target.
I never once thought about how my teachers would make up the time we were losing in the classroom. […] [I]t’s not until now, some 30 years later and with news of school closures everywhere I turn, that it’s occurred to me to wonder how they did it.
Each time we gathered on the soccer field while the buildings got swept yet again, I was scared. I was worried. But I never once thought about how my teachers would make up the time we were losing in the classroom. How they’d get us to the finish line they’d set for us at the start of the year. They did, of course. Because they were amazing. But it’s not until now, some 30 years later and with news of school closures everywhere I turn, that it’s occurred to me to wonder how they did it.
I can only imagine the challenges you and educators like you are facing right now. Deciding how to respond to something as unprecedented as coronavirus shutting down schools worldwide is daunting at best. We hope the following resources will prove useful as you start to plan for what’s next:
1. “Free online learning resources for teaching your students virtually” on We Are Teachers
This comprehensive list of online tools breaks tools down by grade level and lets you know which are currently offering free resources to schools closed because of coronavirus.
2. “Resources for teaching online due to school closures” on The EduBlogger
In this blog post, Australia-based teacher Kathleen Morris digs into everything from video conferencing with students to best practices for teaching online. She even includes links to useful documents, like a template that helps kids plan their day.
3. “Distance learning solutions” from UNESCO
This extensive list breaks resources down into digital learning management systems, massive open online course (MOOC) platforms, self-directed learning content, mobile reading applications, collaboration platforms that support live-video communication, and tools to create digital content.
4. “Teacher resources” from SETDA
The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) compiled this list of resources for teaching online. It includes links to professional learning and tools that can help you with activities like mindmapping, creating videos, and annotating images.
Keep calm and carry on, educators. You’ve got this.