Today I remembered why I became a teacher. It was for the students of course! Seeing them again after five months was so refreshing, exciting, and very much needed for me (and I think the students too!). I am so thankful my district actually made it to in-person classes. I thought I would never see the day! We socially distanced, we wore masks, and it honestly felt very safe and normal. Safe because I already know and love so many of my students. Normal because we have all been wearing masks for awhile now I guess. I definitely missed actually seeing their smiling faces though.
I did not anticipate how hard it would be to teach ESL with a mask, especially the newcomers. I give so many cues about their mouths... where students' tongues should be and so forth when pronouncing letters and words. It's going to be a challenge for sure. Another challenge is hybrid teaching. That is the current mode of teaching we are in with 50% of our students on-site a day. After spinning my wheels for a while the last few weeks, I finally decided on having my Group B students two days behind Group A students. I am jam-packing my in-person classes and screencasting assignment directions for the 3 online days (I use wevideo and Flipgrid for screencasting, but I also want to try Google Meets. Last semester I used Zoom. There are so many options!). If we ever go completely on-site together, I can give Group A students the same assignments I gave my Group B students today and tomorrow. No one seems too optimistic about being fully on-site this school year, but I can hope right?
One thing that won't change is the newcomer curriculum I can use in any of the modes we are in. Just from a personally standpoint, it was definitely worth the many hours this summer I spent moving it online. If you haven't visited my store, please do! I would be honored if you used my curriculum too. I'm confident the five units I have posted so far will last me at least the whole first semester.
To end this post, I couldn't help but feel hopeful today. We have all been stuck in the WONDERING stage for so long. What's this all going to look like? What have students been doing this whole time? I can only speak for me, but it was a very seamless transition back to school today. I caught myself singing Bob Marley multiple times. It really is gonna be alright.