Wednesdays’ blogs are going to be based on different experiences teachers may have in the classroom. For now, I will create the scenarios and characters and provide feedback on how I would handle the situation. I hope you find this helpful. As our community grows, my vision is to have teachers send me their ideas of what is stressing them out in the classroom so hopefully, I can help.
Dear Lesson Plan Toolbox,
Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to clear my mind and hopefully gain some clarity with my situation. I am a first-grade teacher teaching virtually for the time being. We are hoping to offer an in-person option by the beginning of October, but that is not set in stone just yet. Anyhow, I am really struggling with keeping up with ALL THE THINGS! I am in my seventh year of teaching and this literally feels like my first year all over again! Our school has subscriptions to an online math program, reading program, and differentiated learning program. We are not required to use any of these, but many of the teachers are simply because everything is done for you. I tried using all of these sites, but I felt like it was just creating confusion for parents and students. Is it bad that I want to revamp what I'm doing and just stick with our Seesaw platform? I just feel like that will alleviate so much stress and make me a happier first-grade teacher.
Thanks for your time,
ALL THE THINGS
Dear ALL THE THINGS,
First things first...take a deep breath and know you are not alone! This Lesson Plan Toolbox Community will be on this journey with you cheering you on the whole time. You deserve a great big pat on the back for being in education for seven years. That's not always easy, but you're doing it and crushing it. How do I know that? You are acknowledging that you need help and you found a place to turn to seek advice. BRAVO! Now, let's get down to the reason you e-mailed...
I always tell teachers that you know your students best and have to determine the best way to meet their needs. If all of the different websites weren't working for your class, but they do for another class then talk with your principal about focusing on one platform. I like consistency with grade levels, especially in the primary grades. So if your partner teacher is loving the online reading program, but your class is having trouble then maybe that teacher can teach all of the first graders reading. You could then teach all of the math using Seesaw. This way, students are still exposed to more than just your main platform, but the stress is taken off you (hopefully!)
Teaching virtually in the primary grades is a great deal of work. The best piece of advice I can offer you is to keep things simple. From the sound of your email, it sounds like there is plenty of frustration on both your end and for your students. Take a step back and decide what is most important and how can you cover it virtually. I'm finding a lot of primary students are loving being in live sessions rather than watching a recording or even their individual Zoom sessions. The curriculum will come! Don't worry about that. Focus on how to best meet your students' needs and offer support.
I hope this helps to put you at ease just a bit. You will find a path and before you know it your students will be back in your classroom with you and you'll be supporting them on a new path. Please be sure to reach out on Instagram (@lessonplantoolbox) if you need more advice or have more questions. We love serving our teacher community and want to make your lives just a bit easier.
Lesson Plan Toolbox