By Team 7Y teachers Lorelei Saito, Gentry Hirohata, Mandy Chock and Dale Nakata
Teaching and learning in an online, distance learning environment is challenging. However, we are lucky that we have each other. Working on an interdisciplinary team has always provided us with a supportive environment for both teachers and team students. Who knew we would need to lean on each other as much as we are now?
The most challenging part of distance learning is the “distance” from our 92 students who sometimes spend more time in our team space “home” than they do in their real homes. How do we provide a continuation of content and curriculum, while making sure our students feel connected with each other, and with us? How do we continue as a team knowing we will end the school year physically apart? We have tried to address these issues by creating a consistent routine and virtual learning environment for our students.
Our students check in with their advisors every day, and we continually use online meetings as a way to build on our connections with each other. Our team plays games, has reflective discussions and enjoys each other’s company every day. Students log in to hang out and talk, just so that they can continue to feel connected. We may be apart, but our students know that they are not alone.
As much as we miss our students, this challenging time has been a blessing in disguise. Our own families witness us in action with our students. They understand how much we love what we do. We find ourselves homeschooling our own children between classes, and experiencing what our team parents are feeling. We are sharpening skills and restarting hobbies like cooking, gardening, sewing, crafting and exercising that have become dormant because of our busy lives. Slowing down, taking afternoon walks with family, watching our youngest child learn to ride a bike, waving to neighbors and spending time with our own aging parents are moments that we are truly grateful for.
What this time has taught us is the appreciation we have for our own students and the time they now have with their own families. This has helped us empathize by taking a step back and making sure the time we ask from them for “school” is truly beneficial to their learning. This has been a tough journey, but we are committed to providing the best care possible. Our team has been blessed with 92 amazing students and their supportive families, and we couldnʻt be more thankful.
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