Monday, July 20, 2020

Those Zany Madcap NY State Guidelines--Up Against the Wall, Teacher

They say you should watch your back. Well, you can't really watch your back without mirrors, and you won't have any of them anyway. But your students will be watching your back very carefully. On page 29 of this document it states the following:

Turn desks (including teachers) to face in the same direction rather than facing each other to re-duce transmission caused by virus-containing droplets (e.g., from talking, coughing, sneezing);

Think about that a little bit. While your backside may or may not be a thing of rare beauty to be cherished and admired by all, it will be what your students look at in COVID-time classroom settings. This is odd, because a lot of teachers develop eyes in the back of their heads so as to preclude paper airplanes, eggs, and what-have-you making it up to the board, or their bodies, or thereabout.

There are a lot of limitations in the hybrid classroom. You are all masked. The students are socially distanced, and you may not approach them. You may not correct their work privately. They may not work in groups or pairs. Normal socialization seems impossible.

Here's what won't be impossible. While you have your back to the students, they can text one another. They can play video games. They can photograph their test papers and circulate them. They can come to a consensus on which one are correct and which ones are not. Maybe, for the composition, they can each write one paragraph, circulate them, and paste them all together. There are a lot of options in this classroom.

Now sure, you can place your desk in the back of the room and look at your students' keesters, rather than having them look at yours. This will probably solve some issues. You can see them using their phones, for example. You can ask them to put them away. Of course, you can't approach them and confiscate them, and neither can the dean, because, you know, social distancing. Also, forget about using a board.

You could, of course, get a laptop and post from there to a display in front of the room. Here's my question, though. If you're going to do that, what exactly is the advantage of being in a live classroom?

Here's another gem from the list. Here's what schools need to provide for students:

1 disposable mask per week per student (to supplement the cloth masks provided by par-ent/guardian).

Wow. So we're assuming, for no reason whatsoever, that parents will provide cloth masks to students. Have you worn a cloth mask? They can be pretty uncomfortable, and I'm not sure parents would provide them anyway. I wear disposable masks myself, and I've yet to find the one that lasts an entire week, Of course, I don't work in Albany, and who knows exactly what they put in the gala luncheons out there?

I haven't yet read the whole thing, as it's kind of tedious. I suppose it could be used on a Common Core English exam, to show kids how to hate reading. Nonetheless, those are just a few plums I pulled out. Should you find more, feel free to share in the comments.

In better news, today's NY Times features a piece suggesting we ought to go remote and use buildings only to support social and emotional growth. It's good to see the Times feature a viewpoint about education that is not blatantly insane.

I'm encouraged about the future.
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