Managing #teacherlife in the pandemic

Education systems have come to the conclusion that schools are going to close. Some are really closed and others pretending they open, but have almost no students. In NSW at least, the last two weeks has been a daily roller coaster of what ‘closed/open’ means and each school seems to be managing this differently. But the PM says – we’re open and kids should go to school … blah blah.

For the last few weeks, schools have been trying to pivot online. This has been massive. It’s great to see so many teachers who are already working in a blended mode and for most, adding a Microsoft Team to their practice is going to be welcomed – and easy. Those who have managed to hide behind their paper desk-fortresses for the last decade – now have no real choice. Many seem to be getting on with it, and I’m sure some will cling on to the last swoosh and chhhuuring of the last ream of photocopier paper. I’m thinking these are probably the same ones who are still wandering around the shops … anyway … more or less, the classroom exodus is well underway.

What are you doing? Is going to be the next big management hang-up. While teachers are trusted, some are more trusted than others, despite the messages schools leaders will pump out into ‘social streams’. Any organisation that loves a ‘sign on sheet’ is feeling very dis-empowered this week – so how do you get in front?

Take control over your time. Now is great opportunity to demonstrate all the work you actually do – verses what people think you do, or will acknowledge you do. We know many teacher pump out the hours well above ‘the job’ so now is the time to record that with an application such as Toggle. Browser based project/task stop watch. Great to manage all those micro-tasks you’ll be doing already – as you flip between Google Classroom, MS Teams and everything you’re doing in between.

Set up projects:

  • PD hours applied  ANY new technology or process you’re learning
  • Your meetings with other staff via Teams or whatever
  • Administrivia – just dealing with the communications
    • Google Class messages
    • Emails …
  • Student support
    • whole classes
    • 1:1 student sessions
  • Peer support
    • Helping Karen fix her microphone (again)
    • Un-ravelling the dogs-breakfast Google Course Karen made on her own (she’s trying, so be patient)
  • Zig-Zagging (changing things you just did because someone said you need to do something else) – which is very common right now.

It will be very important to SHOW that you are working at home. Sadly, there is a longstanding culture of micro-managing teachers and not formally acknowledging the true work we all do.

But most of all – MANAGE YOUR TIME. Take breaks, listen to your body, move around … be well. I am sure many teachers will be at home – and that means providing the kind of parent-service children usually enjoy on the weekend. Your dog will be super happy to see you and invade your video-call. Just be okay with doing your best … and that TIME is all you have right now … and not to compare yourself with others online. There will be a stack of EDUMACATORS showing off … ignore them.

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