COVID19 – Meetings with Students

Once again, here’s a lightly edited twitter thread about my experiences teaching in the COVID19 craziness. This is the fifth week that we’ve been away from students.

This week I asked the students to attend a small group (<=5) 10 min meeting with me to talk about our past and our future for the class. Since we’re asynchronous, this is the first time that I’ve “required” them to go to a google meet. I assigned no other work this week. There were three days of google meets scheduled, this took up pretty much all the time that I can put forth for school work during the day (with the other meetings and such also scheduled). You can check Zoom App Altarnatives here.

Of my ~100 students, ~70 showed up to the pre-scheduled meeting. At the end of the day I sent out an email to the students who missed and if they responded back then I gave them another time to meet up. This stretched the meetings out to a fourth day. That covered ~20 students who were successful on the second try. At the end of the week I sent out emails to the last ~10 students, parents, (and special ed Ts) who didn’t respond to my emails and didn’t get any of the info that we talked about in the meet. Will call home next week if there is still no word.

It was great talking to the students, some of them for the first time since March 13th, even if it was quick. I write all this to talk about how much effort this relatively small payoff is costing me. I didn’t assign any work this week, I didn’t run any office hours.

I heard about their lives, how they’re working extra hours because they can make some extra $ and help their family. How they’re babysitting for their siblings. How they’re babysitting for health care provider’s kids from the neighborhood. How they actually miss school. How they’ve shifted their awake times back several hours (median amount is probably ~4 hours). How they are getting wildly different amounts of info from their other teachers, order prednisone for dogs online some had heard about the new grading policies from all their teachers, some none. I had several other meetings for school this week, I have a whole bunch of prep that I’ve done for next week (still not done), and I have some grading to do, as well as set the Q3 grade.

This was worth the time and effort. I write all this as confirmation about this teaching job being WAY harder now. This tweet absolutely nails it:

AND (!!!!) I teach mostly juniors and seniors at a relatively well off suburban school. I can’t imagine what it’s like at other districts.

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