It is week 7 of teaching from home, and routine has set in. Send them tasks, correct the assignments they have uploaded in time, give feedback. Wait for delayed homework. Check e-mails to see if they’ve sent it there. Note marks in my little book and Excel-file. Upload new assignment.
Last week the routine annoyed the hell out of me and I gave my students free tasks. Here are examples:
1. Write down the top 5 things you are looking forward to after this phase is over.
2. Collect ideas how you can vary/ be creative at home and/ or in your everyday life.
3. Research beautiful/ meaningful/ hilarious but positive news and small gestures that are happening nowadays worldwide.
As often when I give them free tasks, I am more motivated to sit down and read them. Additionally, my students rarely disappoint me and today I again felt amazed by the answers they shared and the insights they allowed me.
Amongst the answers to nr 1 which I loved: they are looking forward to seeing their grandparents.They are looking forward to getting real hugs. They actually miss school as a place for social contacts. Some mentioned school is more fun with teachers and their humour instead of digital school. Others named eating fast food and just being spontaneous as their first step after this phase.
Regarding the second question, I was surprised by some. Baking, trying out new recipes, redesigning their rooms and checking out online workouts were very popular. Few mentioned reading, but lots named “more time for myself/alone“ as a positive thing.
I got the idea for the last point by Italians singing on their balcony for lightening the mood and moral support. Today, I read through about 20 lists of similar events and beautiful small gestures, but also happy developments in nature that my students found. Dolphins were seen before the coast of Italy; and I think jellyfish dominated a bay somewhere in Asia. An icecream parlour has started deliveries. A teacher holds a virtual mass daily for his students. Somebody built a bench for squirrels. In the suburbs of Bamberg the inhabitants sang for their Italian friends to show support. An artist painted a girl on a mountain in Switzerland. Pet lovers made homemade toys for their cats or dogs. Celebrities sang off-tune to amuse their fans. A girl and her grandfather danced on opposing sides of the road and had the time of their life.
Again, I am grateful for this job I have, and for my students that show me their world and never cease to amaze me. They have managed to lift my spirits in more than one wqy today, and I am totally looking forward to seeing them soon.