EC&I 833 July 12: Blog Post #2

I am sure every teacher worldwide could have ever imagined a global pandemic would occur that would force school closures throughout the world.  I am sure everyone had a different experience, but I utilized Google Classroom and had Google Meetings.  Some may have positive or negative opinions on Google Classroom, but that is what I have used since I began my career and I have not had any issues with it.  I am sure there are other useful tools to use, but this is what I am familiar with.  This was beneficial for the students who had technology at home, but the majority of my students did not have the luxury of having Wi-Fi or technology at home.  Some schools were able to provide technology for students who did not have any, but unfortunately, we were unable to where I teach.  Whenever we had positive cases within our school or classroom, we had to hand deliver homework packages to students homes.  Although this is not ideal, we made the most of the resources we had available. In order to break down how to do assignments to students who did not have technology at home, I called their residence daily to track progress and to inquire if there were any questions.  However, many of the homes did not have a phone, or it was not in service.  There were times throughout the year where I felt I was failing my students because I was unable to educate them the way I would have done so within the classroom.  After reflecting on this on numerous occasions, I came to the conclusion that the times we are living in are not ideal, and all educators and students are adjusting to this strange situation daily. 

In 1873, education began to evolve so students were able to learn at home, rather than in a classroom setting (Caruth & Caruth, 2013).  This was discussed in the presentation on Monday, and it makes sense that this needed to be incorporated because many children were forced to work on the farm to help support their families.  As I look back on my own education experience, I realize that I have taken online courses over a decade ago and I never had a problem with it.  There have been numerous times throughout the pandemic where I wished I could have taken a class in-person because there are less distractions around, you are going somewhere for a purpose, and the people you live with do not need to be walking on eggshells because you are in class.  However, it is what it is, and I am fortunate to have the privilege of owning a laptop and having Wi-Fi to further my education. 

5 thoughts on “EC&I 833 July 12: Blog Post #2

  1. I like the connection you made between taking a class a decade ago and just recently online. You didn’t seem to have a problem with it over a decade ago, but do you think that maybe it was because it wasn’t forced upon you (pandemic conditions and all) and it seemed to be more of a personal choice? Oddly enough, even though it can be really challenging at times with having a little one at home, renovations, a dog, as well as many other distractions, I really appreciate being able to take online classes where I can plug in here at home and maximize my time spent with my family. Maybe if I was a high school teacher with Regina Public, and had to be online with half of my class every day while teaching in class, I would think differently about it. Or maybe it’s because I was in a thesis route program as a part-time student, and wrote a thesis basically unsupported with no peers to connect with that I feel like online learning is a lot better in the fact that I see people and am working with people. Not sure what the right answer is, but I liked how you acknowledged that point. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Reid, reading about how the Pandemic impacted your school community and specifically your students speaks to the complexities and the impact of the digital divide. Access to Wi-Fi and technology is one thing that certainly needs to be addressed. I thought SaskTel did a great job of supporting students provincially with waiving data charges, But the dilemma posed in your situation- what happens when students do no have access to any technology? Suddenly, the support of data fees waived is not enough. It reminds me of the work we need to do provincially and federally to address inequities in the system, to honor the calls to action by the TRC, to create programming and opportunities to address intergenerational trauma, to see the long standing effects of poverty within communities. Certainly, it is not an easy answer that will be solved with a few laws and programs, but your experience shows the need to address the many issues that created this challenging situation and honor what we observed during the Pandemic and the inequities amongst communities. With that being said, reading about how you supported your students with at home work packages, calling to check in, knowing that this situation would have to be addressed differently speaks to the power of a caring teacher. You took an impossible year during a Global Pandemic and you made it work! Your innovation to find ways to make this work reminds me of the quote that Daniel wrote in his blog: “Good teachers will teach well regardless of the space they are forced to utilize – we are problem solvers and we thrive on it”. Kudos to you for thriving in a situation that was untenable!

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  3. Reid,
    I definitely connect to your experience during remote learning. Not being able to access all students was heartbreaking. It was a weird balance of not trying to bug the families because of the ‘unprecedent’ times and trying to do what’s best for students. I was not a fan of online learning at all. There is something so special about being together in a space and this past year has made me thankful for everyday I got to be with my students.
    I like your connection to a decade ago and your gratitude for having the opportunity to learn online.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  4. Reid,
    I think you’re on the right track by understanding and acknowledging the inequalities that exist, not just from school to school, but even student to student in a single class. I feel like the teaching profession is becoming more and more complicated while the resources are being stretched as thin as possible. Kudos to you and the staff over there for recognizing the issues and finding ways to get the work to the kids and going above and beyond to ensure success.

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  5. Props to you for making all of those calls. Our school division gave out around 400 laptops to students in need of tech. In many cases these students were sharing with multiple families and IT had to work on solutions to get these families internet access. Like Jacquie said, it’s nice for companies like SaskTel to step up, but it doesn’t help many of the communities who need assistance the most.

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