Yes, You Are Teaching…

A MiddleWay Blog

I am here to tell you this, for if you’re anything like me these past few weeks, the anguished question that this answer belongs to – “Am I teaching?” – is not far behind anything you’re thinking or planning for instruction.

There’s no Danielson’s rubric for turning school upside down during a pandemic.

But yes, you are teaching.

You are teaching…

🍎 If your fifteen-minute Zoom class is all about reinforcing the difference between typing upper case and lower case so they can get their Bookflix password entered correctly.

🍎 If your instruction entirely consists of “Do you see that green plus sign next to my name?….scroll back up a bit…a little more… no, not the blue plus – yes, good, you got it!”

🍎 If you explain WHY one needs to respectfully mute one’s microphone.

🍎 If you make them laugh by reading aloud, with proper inflection, the garbled nonsense the computer comes up with when they use voice to text to answer comprehension questions.

🍎 If you play electronic Hangman with your students using vocabulary words every day, because they beg you to.

🍎 If you say exactly two things in fifteen minutes to support your students while they spontaneously compare and contrast their jigsaw puzzles at home.

🍎 If you take notes while your student tells you all about her favorite Mexican novellas.

🍎 If you teach your students the names of the flowers in their gardens, and the trees around their houses.

🍎 If your students teach you the names of their little brothers and sisters, who sit in on your lessons with big eyes at the kitchen table, eating toast.

🍎 If you praise and thank by name the older brothers and sisters who are walking their siblings through how to return their work in Google Classroom.

🍎 If you piece together your first-year Spanish to tell your student’s mother congratulations on her new baby girl, and she holds the baby in front of the camera so you can see her.

🍎 If you figure out together that your student can still see you in their closed closet, where the screaming of your student’s overtired aunt is a little less loud.

🍎 If you know your students have spent hours inside today, on their borrowed tablets and laptops and Chromebooks, and the sun is shining for the first time in weeks, and you junk your lesson for a list of outdoor treasures for them to find.

🍎 If your student cries on camera.

🍎 If you then tell them – and tell them – and tell them, through every keyboard click, through each earbud, through every time you show up for them on the other side of this new world: “It’s ok. I love you. You’re not alone.”

Dina Strasser

Dina Strasser is a veteran educator of 20 years, 14 of those as a middle school ELA/ELL teacher. For six years she worked in many capacities at the non-profit group EL Education. Now she's back in the classroom, and this year she’ll be teaching middle and high school English language learners. Her early experiments with dirt have progressed into a lifelong love of the outdoors.

4 Responses

  1. Beautifully said, Dina. Once again, you nailed what it means to be a teacher.

  2. Dina says:

    Thank you, Debbie, as always. :)

  3. Thank you for the inspiration, Dina…I needed this smile :)

  4. Dina says:

    Very kind of you, Mary! :) Have a RESTFUL summer.

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