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Are teachers actually teaching?
Old 04-17-2020, 07:46 PM
 
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In my conversations with students online and on the phone, it seems very few receive more than 10-20 minutes of instruction. Lessons are brief, most of the class consists of completing assignments.

I went online to ask about this and got a lot of hostile responses. "They have their own kids to teach; they can't teach all the time," or "This is all new. They're still figuring out how to do this."


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Old 04-17-2020, 08:14 PM
 
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We were given definite instruction as to the maximum time we can expect of our students based on grade level. For middle school, no more than 25 minutes per class per day. This includes instruction and student work time. Lessons, if delivered in video format, must be short in order to meet this mandate. No grades may be taken, and all students will move to the next grade. We ‘re busting our butts to keep some learning going! I have maybe 30% of my students even participating.

Do you have a better answer?

I am not allowed to speak personally with any student without a parent or another adult. How are you able to?
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Old 04-18-2020, 04:43 AM
 
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I would say it depends. A sub friend of mine tells the story of a friend of his that has two children, a 4th grader and a 5th grader.

According to mom the 5th graders teachers are great, there are three of them who take turns contacting the students several times a day.

The 4th grade teachers are the opposite, just posting written assignments on google classroom and collecting them. No feed back or grades given.

Based on visiting district web sites to find information about this, it seems that some districts are better equipped to handle this than others. The top-notch district sent home a weeks worth of work for the students on Friday March 13 as well as student devices; the district is a one to one district. The following week all instruction started up online.

In other, less affluent districts, student learning is mostly with packets. They are driving the busses around to distribute meals and packets and collect completed work. Secondary students have been provided devices to log on to google classroom.

As for the hostile comments, itís a sign of the times. I work at a big box home improvement center, customers are angry that we have no masks, gloves, toilet paper, Clorox wipes, or bleach (essentials).
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It's not that simple... Thanks, Dutchgirl
Old 04-18-2020, 05:55 AM
 
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I think Dutchgirl's comment needs to be given a lot of attention--there's a tendency to oversimplify things. Most of the teachers I know are busting their butts, being creative and equally frustrated both because of the (mostly logical) restrictions and limitations they are working under and the situation in general. We could start a long list of the reasons this isn't working well. It would include, lack of parental involvement and support, lack of Internet access... in some cases, lack of devices

It may not be any consolation but the teachers I know well in this area are reporting less than a third of the kids are engaged and active in learning. While I would agree that teachers have a responsibility to keep the kids learning, the deck is very much stacked against them. This is a very different (new) situation with a lot more questions than answers.

In the midst of this pandemic, we need to be cautious about adopting a panacea. A lot of people seem to think it's easy--if we can't be together, we'll just switch to online. Technology can fix anything! Distance learning (especially with kids) by its very nature is difficult, challenging, and in many cases ineffective. I work with adults using a combination of distance learning and (until recently) live classes. Distance learning is less about instruction and more about learning. Students who want to learn, do learn--whether they are working remotely or in a classroom with a teacher. But there are HUGE differences between those two methods.

Can we get better at "supervising" students long distance? Absolutely. Can we get it totally right in a week or two? Absolutely not.

Not all teachers are perfect and all are differently skilled. Some are truly struggling with this but I don't personally know any who are just sitting around enjoying a reduced work load. If anything, most are working harder than ever.

I hope I haven't appeared hostile but I will say that hostility often stems from frustration. It's misplaced anger but it also reflects an internal desire to solve problems. That's what we need to focus on, solving problems.
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Old 04-18-2020, 06:52 AM
 
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We were told about 15 minutes per day per class.

In a one-hour class, kids have a bell ringer, instruction, guided practice, and independent practice. At this point, they are really only doing the independent practice. That's honestly about 15 minutes in a regular classroom.

If we were doing this as a regular, full classroom session, we would need more pieces besides the independent practice. Since we had to throw this together in less than 48 hours, and with some kids having ZERO internet access, we are doing just independent practice.

Plus, we are dealing with kids who may have parents who are working outside the home or in the home and aren't available to assist. Some parents don't have the ability to assist. Some parents have multiple kids at home.

As far as people being hostile, that's kind of to be expected when you basically ask someone why they aren't doing their job. Unless you are their boss, there is no nice way to say that.


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It also depends on the District mandates..
Old 04-18-2020, 06:52 AM
 
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In our district, we have all levels of participation within the teachers, students and parents. BUT we were told to send review, enrichment and maintenance only. It could be paper, digital or a combo. No grades are being taken but participation can HELP reassess grades on a case-by-case basis (like extra credit of sorts.)

First, we were told to not make contact until we learned more. Then we were told to maintain contact and log it. It changed several times. I figure most districts/schools are like that.

Some students and parents welcome the work, some do not. I agree that there is no one right answer.
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Old 04-18-2020, 07:36 AM
 
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We have a daily minute amount that grade levels should spend on school work. Kinder is 45 and 4&5 are 90 minutes. That includes time teachers virtually meet with students and any independent work. We all know within our classes that we have kids who could do everything we assign in those minutes and some who would get nothing done. If you have a half hour read aloud with students and then have them answer some questions or write a response, for many elementary students that was their daily instruction time.

Some of our teachers are really going to town doing fun and engaging interactive meets. Some are assigning minutes of online math/ Ela work in a canned program like MobyMax and then having meet minutes scheduled for kids who need help. Some are only assigning worksheets to students. I do think there is a difference in engagement with those classes. In one of the assigning MobyMax type classes, those kids are bored. They are posting ďI hate online learning.Ē In other classes almost all the kids are joining meets and are having fun! They are practicing skills and doing good work.

Is it equal? Are people doing what they can? I think so. Just like in the classroom, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. We work on what we can and we make it work where we canít. Most teachers are putting a lot of energy into doing the best they can.
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Old 04-18-2020, 08:17 AM
 
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If you are in that teaching during covid Facebook group, youíll see some admins are making teachers be available for office hours for morning and nights and are making some teachers do a normal block for 90 minutes. Some are being forced to drop kids if they donít attend. Some are being made to not give anything except review and not grade and some are expected to grade everything. My friends who are teaching right now are generally a little younger than some on this board( late 20s/early 30s) and tech savvy and they are still having a really hard time. Iíd hate to be doing it and attendance and participation seem low for older kids no matter what they are doing. Some havenít heard from their kids in weeks. I just wouldnít be judging anyone right now.
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Old 04-18-2020, 08:33 AM
 
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I think that teachers are doing the best they can. I believe that teachers are worried and stressed about their students and wish there was a better solution.

I don't this is the time to dog on teachers who didn't ask for this, either.
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Old 04-18-2020, 10:33 PM
 
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Subs in my district are being included in on-line teacher trainings. We are also being paid if we participate (if we register and our email shows up as part of the training attendance). I have been able to see the programs being used, grading, pacing, setting-up of the classroom, and all relevant information. I can't imagine how difficult this is for the teachers. I am thinking that just as everyone is getting it down, school will be over! And I have a friend who teaches K who is constantly in contact with her grade level teachers and is working her butt off communicating with the families and providing work. Response on the students' end has been fully involved to no communication.

This is such an unpredictable and confusing time for teachers and students alike.


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Old 04-19-2020, 05:10 AM
 
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I don't know if this post is accusatory or just trying to understand what's happening.

What do you mean by "actually teaching?"

Do you mean delivering multiple hours of live instruction daily?

No, most are not, BECAUSE OUR STUDENTS AND FAMILIES CAN'T HANDLE THAT.

I feel that acting like school is normal, "just" with closed buildings is completely unfair to everyone involved.

My Facebook feed is full of parents (not of my students but my own friends) who are overwhelmed and frustrated because the transition has not been smooth.

Why hasn't it been smooth? Because this is a global pandemic. No one was prepared or equipped. No one signed up for this.

It is not realistic at all for families to facilitate "regular" school days with students sitting at home in front of a screen.

Many of my families had zero devices a month ago. Or one for 5 children.

I don't do live lessons because most of my students can't access them.

I am very weary of "what are teachers doing?" I guess teacher-bashing has always been popular. I am more exhausted and more stressed than ever. I always had guilt. Always. I've taught for 20 years. Have National Board certification. Am a leader in my school and district. Was an instructional coach for several years. And I've always had guilt that I could be doing MORE for my students. Now that guilt is huge. I can't go into their homes and set up technology for them. I can't translate every single assignment into the many languages my various families speak. I can't take away the stress of joblessness and loss and uncertainty our families are facing. I feel sick about that every day.

I am not on vacation. I'm working hard every day and into the night. But, just like when school is in session, you can't see my heart.
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Old 04-19-2020, 05:19 AM
 
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Someone mentioned contacting students several times a day as being a good thing. What???

I have a student with 6 siblings. Several are in middle and high school. I estimate 30-40 teachers have a connection to that family. Even if only one teacher for each child contacted them ONCE a day, that's 7 teacher contacts daily. That's way too much.

My son is in high school. He's taking 6 classes. We get Remind notifications constantly. (One teacher has sent them a few times after 11 pm.) I much prefer a post on Monday outlining the assignments for the week. That way he can organize his week.

The ones who are posting assignments in Google Classroom or Schoology and not contacting us constantly are doing a perfectly satisfactory job in my opinion.
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Old 04-19-2020, 10:58 AM
 
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No good deed goes unpunished.

Reminds me of the guy who was complaining because the waitress checked in on him too much. Some people just can't win, no matter what they do.

If the teachers weren't in contact, people would be complaining about that.
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Old 04-19-2020, 11:54 AM
 
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Bodhimom, I don't know if you're responding to my post, but just in case:

I'm not saying don't contact us. I'm just saying be sensitive to the fact that some families have MANY teachers/assignments to juggle.

Send expectations for the week. Checking in after that is okay, but why would any student need to be contacted multiple times a day?

And 11:30 at night isn't okay.

Every individual teacher is trying to figure this out, usually with minimal guidance about what is expected.

Every family has different expectations and different levels of what they can handle.

I have asked my families for feedback on if my level of communication was good, too much, or not enough. I have asked for feedback on how I'm presenting the information. I had just one parent respond.

I emailed one of my teenager's teachers last week to thank her for something and she appreciated it because she isn't getting any feedback. She has 141 students.

Kids of my friends are drowning in work, don't understand how to access sites, and are struggling with non-school-related stressors at the same time.

This isn't homeschooling. It's an emergency situation.

I'm struggling with the idea that people may think i'm not doing enough as a teacher when in reality I'm working as hard as ever.

I think some teachers are overcompensating for that. It's like the Pintetest version of distance learning.
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Old 04-19-2020, 12:28 PM
 
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I can only speak for myself and my co-teachers but we are teaching for sure! I am a high school special educator and I co-teach. I am working 1:1 with students each day as well as doing live video classes with my co-teachers. We were given the district directive that high school students would have 2 hours a week per class. This includes direct instruction in the way of live video classes or pre-recorded videos and then expected work. 1:1 work with me (or any of our teachers) during office hours in on top of that. We have a modified schedule so that students are only in 2 classes a day and the rest if for office hours, IEPs, 504s, and PLC meetings. I am in front of a computer for 6-7 hours a day with the headaches to back it up.

Yes, we are teaching, creating, calling parents and students, grading, assessing and all the stuff we normally do, but with a very different type of classroom.
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Old 04-19-2020, 12:48 PM
 
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So I guess teachers also have to check to find out how many kids are at each house and contact accordingly?

What is wrong with an email at 11:30 pm? I highly doubt it is a phone call at that time. Shows teachers are working their butts off, to me. If it is texting, turn the volume off when you go to bed.

Teachers are expected to be mind readers, also, apparently.

You should be trying to work WITH the school, not complaining about what they are trying to do, but I guess that goes with the territory of being a teacher. They'll never please everyone, no matter what they do.

Last edited by bodhimom; 04-19-2020 at 12:50 PM.. Reason: Typo
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Old 04-19-2020, 01:15 PM
 
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A Remind notification to students after 11 PM is a bit of a stretch.

Yes, I'm often up still working at 2 am, but not contacting families at that hour.

And, yes, we do need to be aware of how our actions impact families.

I am not trying to criticize teachers. I am just saying we need to be aware of how families are impacted by this.

I am not complaining to any school about anything. I am simply trying to express the parent side as part of a conversation on a teacher message board that I am a member of because I am also a teacher.

Someone upthtead mentioned contacting students 3 times per day. I brought up an example of a family with connections to 30+ teachers. If contacting a student 3x per day is expected, that family is getting 100 contacts per day. Is that reasonable? It sounded extreme to me and I commented. That is all.

For the record, I haven't said a word to the teacher sending late messages. I have never mentioned it except in this thread. I'm sure she's doing the best she can and I appreciate her. I was planning to send a message of thanks to all of his teachers tomorrow.
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Old 04-19-2020, 02:26 PM
 
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I still don't see that contacts are that big of a deal. I'm sure people get at least 10 times more messages on "social media.". People are going to complain, no matter what, and I know I can't change that.
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They are working
Old 04-20-2020, 07:33 AM
 
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At least in my district. Teachers are teaching lessons live and also recording. Teachers are available to students five hours a day, four days a week. Fridayís are for meetings, grading, and extra help. Elementary students are doing packets and every child in the district from first grade up has a Chromebook. The district worked with local internet providers and families to make sure they had internet access. Now, are all the students doing their work. Discouragingly, no. But lessons, packets, etc. are all available. Still, itís out there for students and caretakers to use.
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Old 04-20-2020, 12:54 PM
 
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Thank you, Bodhimom. The worst thing about this pandemic is all the negativity and finger pointing it's brought out. We all need to remember the old song: "c'mon people now - smile on your brother. . . "
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Are Teachers Teaching
Old 04-20-2020, 04:14 PM
 
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My first thought was that you fully intended to be incendiary and that you probably like the idea of turning the tables from the conversation of subs never doing anything or not doing enough. So easy to be offended when we have no real outlets right?!

But you probably just want to know how it works across the board! The truth is that it is different for everyone. Different age groups have different needs. Different socioeconomical situations have different resources available. Teachers are receiving rapidly evolving direction. And that doesn’t even touch requirements set forth by individual states.

We are all working as fast as we can to figure out SOMETHING that can be acceptable for everyone and meets all those different requirements. In my own state of Illinois, there are min-max time limits for each age group and further recommendations for how long you can expect students to focus on a subject area task. We can’t teach new material, we cannot grade anything (unless it enhances their grade, so basically fourth quarter is all extra credit), and we can’t require the work.

In my school district, we do not have to have office hours, but I told my kids they could expect to hear back from me between 8 & 4 M-F. That’s like school hours so it works out well.

To be honest... I’ve heard from two parents and five of my forty kids in the last three weeks. But I’m still there, still putting activities up, still trying to connect. I don’t want to overload my kids, so I’ve e-mailed them once a week, and I’ve posted a community check-in question once a week. If they indicate they want more communication, I jump right in. I have a girl who has an awful home life, that I’m in constant contact with.

I just want you to know - the bottom line is we are all in different situations and we are all busting butt. It’s is not a matter of “not teaching.”

Last edited by MissESL; 04-21-2020 at 01:35 PM..
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Old 04-20-2020, 04:20 PM
 
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For myself, I am a bit interested in the evidence data, whereas I am ended up without a teacher contract this year. When I ran an errand last week, I ran into a teacher from my previous school, and she was shopping and enjoying her time off. Me? I was taking a break, between interviews and Zoom calls. I am Zoom/Skype/Microsoft Teams anywhere from 4 - 12 hours a day, trying to network and land a position. I am busting my ass skilling up - Python, Ruby, Scum, Project Management - in case teaching does not work next year. There are teachers who are working hard, but some are truly slacking off.


In regards to Remind e-mails, it's an automated e-mail that goes out.
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Old 04-20-2020, 08:31 PM
 
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Quote:
There are teachers who are working hard, but some are truly slacking off.


Good grief.
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Old 04-21-2020, 02:56 AM
 
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When I long term subbed for an online learning course with mostly high school students, I saw something like 10% attendance rates and most kids showed no initiative at all. Online distance learning only works when students have a ton of initiative; most high school students do not. I can't even imagine it at a lower age group. If you even get the kids showing up at all, you're lucky. Speaking to some teachers in my district, it seems like they can't get a hold of most of their classes at all. That's not an indictment on educators, I want to be clear. Hell, it's not a critique on the kids either. These are rough times. A kid might not be attending because her parents both lost their jobs and she has to help them move. I'm not saying anyone's at fault. But we have to be objective here. If kids can't even show up, then obviously the system can't be effective.



Then you have districts putting all kinds of weird limitations. I have friends who teach fulltime and they've told me that their supervisors are basically telling them to give out review for an entire week, so all they've been allowed to do was copy and paste old assignments. I know it varies by district, but it really seems like some districts just want to bury this year and move on to the next. I'm sure next year there will be a bunch of kids with huge gaps in their education, but oh well. Might've just been better to pause the year and resume the lost time in the summer in earnest, instead of relying on spotty online learning where the effectiveness is dubious at best, but I guess that would've been a logistical nightmare.
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Old 04-21-2020, 10:00 AM
 
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Quote:
My first thought was that you fully intended to be incendiary and that you probably like the idea of turning the tables from the conversation of subs never doing anything or not doing enough. So easy to be offended when we have no real outlets right?!
MissESL: At first, I was going to ignore this. But I guess I must "have no other real outlets," so I just have to respond (and vent).

This is, after all, the "substitute teachers'" forum, meaning that it is where substitute teachers discuss our own concerns and issues. Do you have a problem with that?

It's one thing to provide helpful info from your perspective as a full-time teacher. It's quite another to come to this forum with needless snarky, critical remarks that further alienate and antagonize substitute teachers rather than encourage mutual understanding for us all.

If you don't approve of what substitute teachers have to say in their own forum, then you're welcome not to post here. That's how I see it. I for one like to feel this is a safe place for sub teachers to commiserate and discuss our unique issues with each other. I'm sure others feel the same.

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 04-21-2020 at 11:12 AM..
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Old 04-21-2020, 01:34 PM
 
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I think you misunderstood me. I meant, it’s easy for ME to misread/be offended. I was being self-deprecating, really.
And if you read the rest of the post, you can see that I didn’t take offense or mean any. I’m sorry about that.

As for deciding whether or not to comment on a post..I usually look at recent posts, not specific boards, so I don’t pay attention to what board it’s posted on. I just click those which interest me! I think we can all comment on any board, because that’s what forums are for!

Last edited by MissESL; 04-21-2020 at 01:58 PM..
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