Being born in 1966 I was a little boy who was fascinated with space, rockets, and the Apollo missions. Some of my earliest memories are from the Apollo missions. I remember the Apollo 17 night lift off. My parents woke me up to watch that event. When I watch clips of the Apollo rockets, the Space Shuttle, or the SpaceX rockets leave for space, I am always amazed at how slow the rockets look as they leave the launch pad. Yet, you hear a commentator, or read later, that the rocket was moving much faster by the time it reached the top of the launch tower. Something that looks so slow, yet is moving so fast. Its all about perspectives. The first six days of the school year have had the same paradox. They seem to be moving slowly, but they are moving much faster than they seem. The amount of “data” I have collected, and things I have learned, is much greater than I would have expected. Its been difficult, but like most things in life, “you are always better after the struggle.”
I am getting to know my students bit by bit. Communicating with them through assignments has been helpful. I’ve had a student offer to help me with technology, share their love for One Direction and Harry Styles, and understand some of their dreams and goals. The primary difference this year is the communication vehicle. Traditionally, it has been conversations in passing periods, before school, lunch, or those small times we carve out during class. In a remote setting it may come from an assignment comment, a Zoom hello or goodbye, or from a student who shows up early to a class. Getting to know them is challenging, but definitely not impossible. Teachers have to work in different ways. Our past way simply don’t exist in a remote setting. Perspective change must lead to adjustments.
The biggest adjustment has been class flow. I’ve been having a difficult time with Zoom, and having students enter the correct link. Here is the positive. The kids and their families have been understanding and patient. I’ve been upfront with the hurdles, which I think is making a difference. I was talking with a student after class on Friday. She began laughing as I was talking about how excited I was for institute day on Monday, Sept. 14th. I was using a bit of sarcasm. When I asked her what was funny, she told me that her mom, also at the table, heard what I said and busted up laughing. She told me her mom finds me personable. I don’t think there is a better word I would like to have a parent use for me this year. We are in this together, and the better our relationship, the more successful we will be.
All things considered, the first six days have been better than expected. All systems are go, and we are ready for the next stage to kick in. The moon may be a far way off, not to mention re-entry, but our course is set and everything looks good.