"I learned that I needed to find ways to be involved and knew my kids needed that too."
I was so sad to think that I would not be able to finish the "golden months" of a school year. Springtime in the classroom is always my favorite. I get to see the growth my class has made academically and socially. I know them and their families and we have built a strong relationship. We get to enjoy the great weather and laugh at recess while having fun in the classroom because routines and relationships have been built! I thought how in the world is this going to work? Teaching first graders online? I knew some kids would not be getting the love and support they needed at home and I wanted to be able to be there with them through this hard time.
My favorite part about teaching first grade are the life lessons I get to teach. When at home this was not able to be done as easily. Simple things like waiting your turn, understanding everyone is different, we don't always get our way and sometimes we are "bored" and you still have to be respectful are some things that were hard to teach while at home.
When we left school in March, keeping relationships was the most important thing to me. I used YouTube and FaceTime to reach my students. I FaceTimed each student weekly and if they had something they wanted to share with me, they knew they could always call. I made a YouTube channel with morning meeting read alouds and they got to see in my home as well as me seeing in their home!
When this school year started fully online I did a lot of mailbox drop offs. Whether it be fun coloring books and bubbles or word wall words and lined writing paper or differentiated work and books for individual students. I did a lot of incentivizing for doing work and adjusting to this new environment. This was a time to share a distanced wave and keep our classroom relationship strong. To me, this was a year that I got to know families more than ever.
I learned that social interaction with co-workers and kids is something I need. I learned that I needed to find ways to be involved and knew my kids needed that too. I also learned if there is a will, there is a way, and if it helps my students, I am going to do it.
- Lexi Valentinas