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Question for Virtual teachers
Old 10-16-2020, 06:12 PM
  #1

I've been helping my DGS with his 2nd grade online classwork. His parents chose to do 100% virtual school. His teacher is "live" for very little time....maybe 90 minutes a day, spread out over 3 sessions. She assigns a little independent work and lots of online games and videos and listening to stories being read. My DGS had only one reading group this week which lasted all of 8 minutes and all they did was the old fashion useless round robin reading. He's happy enough, but I'm feeling like his teacher is not doing much to teach these kids. She doesn't let them unmute themselves and she scolds them for using the chat. She has never given any comments on work he's done for the last 8 weeks and he's getting lazy and saying stuff is "good enough" when I know he can do better. Is this par for the course, or should I be making waves?


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Old 10-16-2020, 06:19 PM
  #2

Iíll say itís not how weíre doing it. We meet for 3 hours PLUS guided reading. I meet with my resource kids on top of that.

Weíre assessing just like we would if we were f2f. Kids have work and teachers have office hours to meet with kids who have questions.

Iíd talk to the teacher about your concerns, ask what her plan is to get through the curriculum, assess students, collect data and meet with guided reading groups. Give her a chance to explain before going to the P. Give her a week or so to follow through and then follow up and cc the P.
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Old 10-16-2020, 06:39 PM
  #3

Just to add to what GG said, the difficult part of this is that we started the year with Distance Learning. That means we've never met these students in person, so we have no background of how well they can print, how good they are at writing complete sentences and paragraphs, how their background is in Math, etc. So the teacher may not want to make negative comments not knowing if this is his best effort or not. You might have a conversation with her and bring up what he is capable of doing, and let her know that she can expect more of him.
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Old 10-16-2020, 07:12 PM
  #4

I like what GG said. I think every district is handling things differently. In the spring, we were constantly being told that what we were doing was "too much" and "too overwhelming." Every week in our staff meeting, our P would say to cut back more and more. At the end, we were not allowed to post any video more than 5 minutes, and were told to think what we would do in one in person lesson and make that last an entire week for remote instruction. This teacher may be hearing similar things.

Ironically, this year my district is all about having remote learning basically replicate a regular school day. We're in person, but there have been numerous quarantines/kids have had to switch to remote for 1-2 weeks. Now the expectations are about 3.5-5 hours (depending on age) of synchronous instruction daily with an overall work schedule that matches a regular school day. Not sure how these same families who were "extremely overwhelmed" and "teachers were expecting way too much" in the spring are now dealing with 20x the work.
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Old 10-16-2020, 07:13 PM
  #5

We have a regular school day, except it is a hybrid model. The schedule is very much like it was pre-Covid. Students meet for small group reading. We haven't started Math flex groups get. Our spec ed teachers pull individuals to work on their goals and there are some teacher working with break out groups. Our kids are playing educational games that track prescribed data. They are answering question on google docs or Google surveys..school looks different but we do have full day school and the activities are expected to be meaningful.

We've been told to give a lot of grace as this is new to everyone. I don't know how new this is to your teachers there, but ours started with the remote teaching in the spring. They had time to get things together. Other schools systems just closed and didn't start online instruction until this new school year. They might be building towards regular instruction, whatever that looks like in the Covid world.


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I teach virtual first grade.
Old 10-16-2020, 07:15 PM
  #6

I pre-record core lessons because the Internet freezes up a lot with large groups. It works better with small groups, so I meet with small groups live all morning. I meet with whole groups live three times a day to check for questions or things they donít understand from the pre-recorded lessons. We also do small social groups so the kids can talk and share things. Itís worked well.
Weíre all learning how to do this. I do agree with you that your grandsonís teacher could be giving more instruction in the reading groups. Round Robin reading is not really very challenging. Iím not sure how you could get her to change her teaching style.
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Distance Learning
Old 10-17-2020, 05:14 AM
  #7

I agree, I think many districts are handling this differently. However, it seems like your child's school there was an option, it's not that everyone is virtual. I'm wondering if this "option" was contested by teachers and because of that, he's not getting the best experience. I know we are face to face, but there was a virtual option. Since school started, as classroom teachers, we were doing both the instruction for our face to face kids as well as our virtual kids. Teachers were overworked and unhappy. As a result, the kids didn't get the best experience. The district has since hired someone to do just the virtual kids.

I've also heard that in other districts, certain teachers were assigned virtual. In some cases, the teachers wanted virtual, and in some cases they didn't. Could it be that your grandson's teacher didn't the virtual school option? Could it be that the virtual school teacher was hired last minute and had no time to prepare for how to do things virtually?

I agree it's not fair for your grandson. However, I would not make waves with the school or teacher, personally. Instead, you and his parents can push him more and supplement. Parents are their child's first teachers, and I think if parents choose a virtual school option, they need to be prepared to be more involved.
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Sounds absolutely fine to me
Old 10-17-2020, 05:52 AM
  #8

My question would be whether it's the teacher or the district that's making decisions about how much time she's 'live' each day. My district is all virtual and the class times have been set for us, as well as the amount of work we can assign each day. I hope the families of my students and others in my school realize that the teachers aren't being lazy, we're just following directions. I'm commenting on every assignment but this could be an area where the teachers are being told to accept any effort; you'd have to ask the teacher or read through the school's website to figure out if it's her or the district making that decision.

What you're describing actually sounds pretty good to me in this situation. I don't see a problem with her assigning online games, videos, and stories - these are educational, too and when you look at the big picture, she's probably trying to get the maximum number of students engaged despite not being physically present with them. Round robin reading may be the only way that she can tell what level each student is on - it's seriously impossible to figure out virtually unless you ask them to read aloud and listen to how well they do. I'm not sure why she isn't allowing anyone to unmute but I can tell you that my colleagues and I are finding that a lot of homes have way too much noise and it's distracting and frustrating. Regarding chat, I don't even have it enabled because it's yet another distraction.

As one of the responsible adults you are able to see the situation as less-than-ideal. Unfortunately, there are probably a number of families in your grandson's class that aren't even managing this much. Teachers with fully remote students are trying to find that 'sweet spot' that creates the most learning for the most students. As long as your grandson is learning and making progress academically that's all we can hope for when learning 100 remotely.
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Old 10-17-2020, 08:01 AM
  #9

No, you should not make waves. You are the grandparent helping her grandson. The situation is not ideal and Iím sure the teacher knows it.
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Old 10-17-2020, 08:43 AM
  #10

Is the teacher only teaching virtual students or is she teaching both? In my district we are having to teach both live and face-to-face simultaneously. You can imagine how hard it is and how poorly students' needs are being met. If this teacher is having to do that, she may be doing the best she can given everything she is expected to do.


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Old 10-17-2020, 10:36 AM
  #11

Thatís absolutely not how weíre doing it. Iím zooming 90 minutes in the morning, 2 hours midday, and 30 minutes at the end of the day. When Iím not with a whole group, Iím meeting with students individually or small group. Plus students have half an hour specials class when I get prep time. They also have an hour of remote work when theyíre not connected to Zoom but we can see what theyíre doing on their managed school devices.

Thatís not to say theyíre sitting attentively listening to me the whole time theyíre live. I try to run it like a class - listen, turn and talk (breakout rooms with 2-4 kids each), and silent working with me there to answer questions. I give feedback on work almost daily (itís impossible to keep up with daily and have a sleep schedule).

OTOH, schools nearby have their kids attend a 45 minute morning meeting which is mostly read aloud time and review the instructions for the day and then theyíre on their own the rest of the day.

If sheís not going to let them chat, she needs to turn it off, many adults canít resist commenting in an open chat.

I donít know how to help your grandson, though, unless that itís you take over his education.
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Old 10-17-2020, 10:43 AM
  #12

Quote:
. Not sure how these same families who were "extremely overwhelmed" and "teachers were expecting way too much" in the spring are now dealing with 20x the work.
Although I know there are many families who still have a lot overwhelming them and I feel for those situations, the reality is that we’ve had several months to prepare for virtual school.

Even if a school didn’t announce full distance learning in summer, there is really no excuse for anyone not knowing that virtual learning was going to be a part of fall for most schools at some point if not the whole semester and, therefore, preparing for it by lining up childcare or reorganizing homes and work schedules and basically coming to terms with the fact that this year will be difficult and different and that attitude will make an enormous difference.

If families choose to listen to covid denying liars, I’m rapidly developing very little sympathy for them being overwhelmed by virtual school.
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Old 10-17-2020, 11:08 AM
  #13

I do 3rd grade remote learning for my district.

We have a morning meeting and math lesson from 8:30 - 9:15. Then students have an assignment from the lesson and about 20 minutes of My Path work on iReady.

We meet again from 10:30 - 11:00 for a social studies/science lesson and then they have an assignment to work on.

Finally, we meet for ELA from 1:30 - 2:15 for ELA. Then they have an assignment.

Our district guidelines are about 2 1/2 hours of online work and then 2 hours of independent work.

I have not met with reading groups yet, even though we just finished week 6. I will start them next week.
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Old 10-17-2020, 02:37 PM
  #14

I am teaching in person and online. I have a google classroom where there are assignments and I also give them paper packets. I use google meet for my kids to join our live math and language arts, and science sometimes . Out of 13 I have 4 consistently join. Teachers are doing their best with the circumstances we are given
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Mimicking the regular day
Old 10-17-2020, 02:38 PM
  #15

I find it so interesting to read about different models. In my district, we are live via zoom and my four brick and mortar students. The only time I am not with my zoomers is during recess, lunch, and special area. Our school day is 8:30 to 2:30.
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Old 10-17-2020, 03:03 PM
  #16

I'd give him extra on my own and let it go. I would not judge the quality of any teacher during a pandemic! Everyone is under a lot of pressure and stress, and life will go on - kids will be able to catch up when life settles.

I know I'm overwhelmed, and did not have months to prepare. We had summer break. I had no idea what would happen when school started back up. We were told nothing over the summer and then, just before school started, were told so many conflicting things. What actually happened is not at all what we were told.

At this point, we're still remote. If we start back in-person, I will need to teach both in-person and virtual at the same time. Not at all what was stated in August! It's insane.

I cut way back on content, but still really tried to incorporate learning and fun during the 1st quarter. Kids still didn't do the work. Then I was told I'm giving too much work. Seriously, parents are being told to only concentrate on ELA and Math, so how am I supposed to get kids to do anything for an elective? Frankly, I give up. I will give very simple assignments so I'm doing something, but I'm not working triple anymore.
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Old 10-17-2020, 05:32 PM
  #17

If she is following district guidelines, there's not much you can do.

I will say, though, that is very different from my district. I am teaching pretty much the regular school day, except that I meet with a different reading group each day after we do the whole group reading lesson, so the students don't have a guided reading lesson every day. But small groups are 30 min each and are more or less run the way we'd be doing it in the building, very interactive.
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