Tanya Crotty, Cook, NE

Teacher reflects on educators' flexibility, and its value during the pandemic

July 7, 2020 |

We are asking how COVID-19 is impacting rural communities. Read below for a perspective from Tanya Crotty, a fifth-grade teacher in Cook, NE. You can share yours here: http://bit.ly/iaartcovid

When a person goes into teaching, it is for multiple reasons, but my guess is that none of us did it so we could teach from home. We all know that our classroom schedule - along with our students and ourselves - needs to have some flexibility. We make changes, sometimes on a daily/weekly basis. This pandemic has put a whole new and different spin on “flexibility.” I encourage all teachers to stay positive at this time, because no matter what approach you are taking and apps you are using to teach your students right now, you are making a difference.

In my 5th grade classroom, I am using class dojo to communicate to the parent/student, and I have given my cell phone number to each student. I have had several texts and calls asking for help or clarification about something. The work packets that went home with the students on March 17th were from supplemental materials, but all concepts were for review. Each day I would message on dojo and inform the students of which pages I needed turned in that day. The student takes a picture of the requested pages and messages those back to me on dojo. I check and grade then give feedback if needed. I am also planning to start using IXL for upcoming assignments.

New work packets and the reading workbooks were sent home the first of April. I will be assigning work from this new lot of materials. The reading workbook will give them contact with new spelling words, language skills, and vocabulary words. These are types of pages they are familiar with and have been using all year. The language page has a handy dandy box that tells rules and usage for that concept. Along with the new vocabulary they will be working with, I made a copy of the glossary in their reading textbook and put in their materials pack. The glossary is what they have been using all year to find and learn the vocabulary each week. I had available two issues of scholastic news and those were also sent home to the students. These will give them communication of current events and multicultural stories. If the need arises, I will record a video of me teaching a concept and post it on class dojo. This gives them further help and education of a concept that some might be struggling with.

There have been some student/parents that haven’t been using class dojo to communicate, so with those families I have messaged, called, or emailed until I am getting the materials back that I am requesting. I know there are some areas with poor WiFi, and for those students there is more time allowed for work to be submitted. For the most part I feel there has been good connectivity with my students. This isn’t what is best, but this is the best for the situation we are all dealing with.

I miss the daily interaction with my students and can’t wait for all of our lives to get back to normal. My wish for all students/families at JCC and beyond is to stay healthy and safe.

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