Saturday, 13 February 2021

Teaching from home or holding a seance?

Hello there,

How are you all today? 


Like most teachers, I am working from home at the moment. 

To be precise from the kitchen.

It's great.

I love it...

I have never eaten so much toast, or so many biscuits and crisps, or drank quite so much tea as I have over the last 5 weeks.

I'm teaching live lessons though the medium of Microsoft TEAMS, a business communication platform that  was never intended to be used as an online classroom...

...but it's better than nothing.

This isn't a rant by the way...

There are advantages to teaching from home:
  • I get an extra half an hour in bed each morning.
  • I haven't ironed a shirt since mid-December.
  • I'm saving a fortune on petrol (but spending considerably more money on tea, bread, biscuits and crisps...)

There are also things I miss about physically travelling into work: 
  • I miss the friendly staff at the drive-thru coffee shop
  • I miss my friends and colleagues (not all my colleagues, obviously)
  • I miss seeing the kids, talking to them, listening to them.
  • I miss the interaction and the whole experience of teaching in a classroom.

There are lots of things I can't control online which I can control in a classroom:
  • Some students don't complete any work. In my classroom they (usually) have no option.
  • Some students attend for the register and then disappear. Can you imagine that happening in your classroom? Five minutes in, you turn round to discover half of them have sneaked out?  I have literally taught a Year 8 lesson to no students. Not a single one turned up. 
  • Some students don't know how to work the techy side of home learning. They can use tiktok, Facebook, Instagram, and Plurk but have no idea how to open an Assignment, submit an assignment, or actively engage in a lesson. None of this is their fault. their parents and teachers think kids are good with computers when in reality, they are good at doing a couple of things on computers (some of them are even legal).
  • Marking work takes much longer, it is submitted in 15 different formats and once feedback has been given and returned, it is lost forever. 
  • Don't even get me started on Google Translate. It's a wonder the site hasn't melted with all the use it's been getting. Students who before Christmas were working at GCSE level 3 are now submitting work which includes imperfect subjunctives and some frighteningly translated local vernacular... "J'aime me frire comme." ("I love chips me like." Seriously!)
  • My students are not permitted to turn on their cameras so I've no idea if they are even there. I spend most of my time saying "Raise your hand if you are there...Raise your hand if you can hear me...Is there anybody there....?"

image courtesy of


Tracy said...

I completely identify with this. I occasionally manage to get a little feedback when I become particularly frustrated and say that I am going to assume they have left and mark them absent if they don’t say in chat they are still there, or speak to me to prove they are still there.
It is also the same few students who allege they have tech problems, or that I am glitching. Amazing how the problems clear up as soon as you give them an alternative way to access the learning.

Dom said...

Hi Tracy,
Thanks for the comment.
I'm glad it's not just me :)