Thursday, August 13, 2020

A Retired Teacher’s COVID-19 Journey


 

When I retired as a teacher of high school child development in 2009, I started a journey.  No, not a journey to see every state in the union, although that would have been rather interesting!  It was a journey of self-fulfillment to help the teachers who were still teaching, still over-worked, and still struggling to balance home and school.  Don’t get me wrong – I took plenty of time for my own retirement endeavors, which included sewing, writing, painting, and all the other little things I never had time to pursue when I was teaching.  However, I also did two things that helped me to help the teachers I left behind.

First, I began posting resources on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Initially, I posted many of the resources I had used while I was teaching.  Then, my “store” expanded to include resources that my teacher daughters asked me to create for them.  That included a PowerPoint of state history, which expanded into PowerPoints of every state history!  Then my daughter needed a learning packet for Ancient Rome.  You guessed it, that expanded into Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and I now have plans for Ancient China.  The list goes on and on.  Some resources were at the request of my daughters. Other resources were from my own interest in a variety of topics.  See all that I have done at my store: All-American Teacher Tools.  I am especially proud of the games I came up with to energize those kids who have been sitting in front of a screen all day.  Check out my Socially Distant Games for Grades 4-8.

Second, I started donating to Donor’s Choose.  I began to plow half of my earnings back into a different way of helping currently teaching educators looking for help.  (The other half goes to supporting my retirement habits – buying paints, fabrics, and sewing supplies!)  Each month I looked for projects that I felt most deserved my support.  First, I started looking for fellow Family Consumer Sciences teachers who were looking for supplies.  I also searched for teachers who wanted sustainable resources, not consumable resources that would only last a year.  Finally, and this is a personal preference, I wanted to be the donor who put those teachers “over the top” by being their last donor to complete their request.  I have always wanted to be wealthy enough to have my own foundation, like Bill Gates.  Since that’s never going to happen, Donor’s Choose is my next best opportunity to give back to those who need my money the most.

So how does this teacher’s journey retrospective relate to COVID-19? When the schools closed and teachers scrambled to prepare remote resources for their students, I wanted to learn what they needed to carry their classes through to the end of the year. (I had no idea at the time, that those needs would continue into the next school year!) My daughters showed me new and interesting platforms I never knew existed, and gave me new vocabulary that I never thought I’d use.  Words like Google Classroom, Slides, and Docs became my best friends.  They were easy to understand.  By the way, I found that it’s very easy to transfer Google Slides into PowerPoint, but the reverse is not so easy!  Next came Google meet and Zoom and screencasting!  Our family used the Google meet app to link up two states and four families into a family chat when travel was not an option.  Thank you, Google!  Then came my newest addiction – Bitmojis and their insertion into the virtual classroom.  What fun that is to help create a background, insert posters, add a Bitmoji character and develop a virtual classroom that is the next best alternative to the real deal.

So that’s the story of my journey to today.  I began teaching in 1971 when purple dittos were still the accepted means of reproducing tests and worksheets.  And blackboards still created chalk dust all over the front of the classroom! Now I know how to develop a Google doc with a form insertion field so students can fill in the blanks. What fun!!

Teaching is a never-ending journey of learning.  I hope I can continue to provide assistance to other teachers who need my limited expertise in remote learning. I say “limited” because my daughters who are developing classes, schedules, and assignments in their remote formats are far more experienced than I will ever be.  I wish them and the rest of you the best that the new school year has to offer – both remotely and in the COVID-19 adapted classroom. 

If you are a retired teacher, I'd love to know what you are doing to help your fellow teachers struggling to cope with remote/hybrid/classroom education.  If you are a current teacher, please let me know how I can help.  I'll give you a resource (if I can!) for free and then post it on Teachers Pay Teachers for a fee!  Its a win-win for everybody 😉



  

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. Your kindness and helpfulness is deeply appreciated.

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  2. All-American Teacher Tools...you are such a sweetheart... You must enjoy reading the thank you notes from so many of the students you have impacted with your Donor's Choose resources and materials. I have been retired for two years, but continue to help teachers find the best teaching ideas and lessons with The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative.

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