COVID-19 Is Changing How I Teach and I Like It!
Who could have thought that a virus could have the power to change so much in a short time? Two weeks ago I taught twenty-five classes per week to various ages, economic backgrounds, ethnicities, and abilities. I taught to what I saw was needed from those before me at that time. Yes, I always went into class with a plan, but I must admit that my plan tended to flow with what the class needed at that time.
If in the middle of teaching infants and toddlers I noticed that communication needs were the most important thing of the day, I worked more on communication skills. I would put away my scarves and parachute and take out my finger puppets, butterfly puppet, stretchy bands, and drums and we would copy sounds, actions, and facial expressions. If in the middle of ballet class, I saw that a large group of the students were misaligning their spine, we would step away from the barre and work on finding aplumb. If my elemental movement and music class could find where certain movements originated in their bodies or hear the difference between so and mi, we would start playing a game to work on that. My classes were always quite interactive and a conversation between myself and those with whom I work.
That conversation is no more. That give and take is, thanks to a new virus that spreads easily, is not able to happen. Seeing the spark of understanding in the eyes of my students is not possible at this moment in time. This means, like this mutated virus, my teaching style must evolve.
How can I continue to do what I feel I was created to do and still keep myself and others safe? I knew that many are able to teach via live Stream, Zoom or Skype, but many of my students are young and sitting in front of a screen for thirty to forty-five minutes was not something that attracts any of them or of interest myself. My lessons tend to flit quickly from one activity to another. As I teach, I flow between topics as they are interested and much of what I do requires the students to also create, become the teacher and teach me. How I teach was not made for video conference calls or meetings.
Time to evolve yet again and discover a new set of skills to make sure my style of teaching is available to those I teach.
When I have had injuries and needed to adjust my teaching style due to a cast or walking boot. This is the first time I have been challenged to teach classes while there are no students in front of me. Well, if Mr. Roogers could do it each week with all he taught me, I can give it a try.
So, now I teach classes through the camera lens. It has been an interesting learning curve, but I am still doing what my soul must do. I am teaching students.