Virtual Teaching Reflection #2: “So What” Moments

I love to teach but I don’t love to manage.

I have had plenty of years of practice in classroom management, with 24 young ones sitting on a rug, transitioning to tables, walking down the hall, etc., etc., etc.  It has always been a necessary evil of the job for me.  This year, however,  is different; this year of virtual education. I am enjoying the “so what” moments.

Of course I never say, “So what?!” I just think it to myself. Like when the student on my screen is finishing a bowl of cereal. Or wearing a glittery unicorn horn on their head. Or is clicking a long line of markers end to end (but so what? It’s no going to turn into a sword when there’s no one else there to ‘en garde’ with.)

And the child who is doing down- dog on a yoga mat in front of their computer. Another is doing chin-ups on a bar in their room. Another is walking in circles but rushes back to unmute when I ask them to share their thinking with us.

If you’re on your belly in your bed with the covers on I WILL say “come sit in your seat and face the screen, come be with us.” Once we have virtually gathered as a class I will say, “put the book, put the legos to the side for now.” But many of these little behaviors I couldn’t allow in the classroom, this year I can just think to myself, “So what?” 

Even the kid who takes the wad of purple putty, stretches it out and lays it over his face like an alien creature is eating him. I just keep on teaching.

The marker sword!

11 thoughts on “Virtual Teaching Reflection #2: “So What” Moments

  1. You are so right … the things I have seen this year. It has reminded me just how young they are and that sitting still is not how they learn best. When we “manage” them we many not be optimally teaching them. There is so much we will have to unpack when this year is done. Your descriptions are priceless. And I love the picture at the end. Thank you for bringing humor to a long year!

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  2. I, too, have been struck this year by how my priorities (tolerance?) have changed. My students are bigger, but I have “so what”ed my way through obvious texting, blank screens & unresponsiveness. I guess we’re all just trying to allow them to survive the best way that they can, purple putty and all.

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  3. I love your thinking about this. At my school we are mostly in person but every class has at a few still online from home. I am so tired of hearing “turn your camera on,” “mute yourself,” and “I’m removing you from the meeting.” But in all the adult meetings, most do not have their cameras on, we start talking when we’re still muted, unmute and blast background noise into the meeting… we need to say so what to the child-like things kids are doing in front of the camera… I’m sure the grownups are just as squirrelly, just not on camera.

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  4. I completely agree! And I am actually happy to relinquish my duties for a year, of reminding kids of classroom expectations. My expectations have been reduced to just showing up! Even the being in bed part, I am turning a blind eye to that. As long as there is a face on the screen, for at least part of my class, I’m good! Next year, it’s going to be a big reality check for us all!

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  5. Oh. Yeah. We come back together next week— all the hybrid students anyway. Tiny classes have been great, and I have had much of the same, even though it was in person.

    Honestly, I think my classrooms will still be okay-ish, but I am very, very worried about how many fights we will see in the high school halls.

    Sigh… wish us luck in the reality check that is 48 hours away.

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  6. You are so right about letting more things go! And it is freeing! I also think two things about this. One, we may need to rethink the whole classroom management thing and two, it does take two to sword fight! Hahaha, thanks for a great post!

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  7. This is soo true. I love to teach, Mange, not so much. Your descriptions of your kiddos are priceless. Unicorns, purple playdough, spinning, cereal. Yes. And the thing is, they do come back to the screen and engage with their thinking, so you know they are present in their play. Which is after all their natural state. It makes me wonder, how we could possibly return to in-person with more ways to allow that playfulness without distracting others.

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  8. I love the picture of the marker sword at the end! 🙂 I love the lines at the end, too: “Even the kid who takes the wad of purple putty, stretches it out and lays it over his face like an alien creature is eating him. I just keep on teaching.” –I love the vividness of the image (I can so picture students doing that!) and the simplicity and beauty of your response.

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  9. I love your description and precise vocabulary. My favorite is ‘en garde’. I especially appreicate this because MS is different and your slice captures ES distance learning perfectly!
    LOVE the drawing at the end!

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