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  1. #1
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    Mandaloopy's Avatar
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    Teaching in the "New Normal"

    I guess the "new normal" is going to be slightly different for us teachers, but I thought it would be interesting to share experiences and tips of this unique situation that we find ourselves in.

    At my school we have social distancing, masks or shields (up to the individual), smaller classes and students coming in two shifts which will result in a longer working day, but whatever, it's a pandemic and I can take a slightly longer day on the chin.

    I teach second grade, it is unrealistic to expect them to sit still all day in the extreme, so would be interested to know what folks are doing to stop them from getting restless. I am planning on using brain breaks by Jack Hartman, pretty damn goofy dude but his videos have worked in the past to get rid of excess energy and settle a rowdy class.

    Due to the social distancing group work is going to be a little challenging, hopefully some brainstorming on Monday will present some solutions.

    How are other teachers holding up?

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandaloopy View Post
    How are other teachers holding up?
    ......not a good question for TD...

  3. #3
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    ^^It is definitely a new challenge. I start in a few weeks after being off since mid-March. The way it will be working here in Canada is that children in grade 3 and up need to wear masks. The class sizes are not going to be smaller which is a big problem with the parents and the unions. I think it'll be pretty chaotic at first anyway. I supply teach with three school boards.

    Students trying to learn with masks on and keeping social distancing will be a challenge. I will see how it is once I get in there. Good luck to ya, Mandy. I can't see children wanting to stay apart on the playground or wanting to keep masks on all day? You?

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    How's it going with the teaching, Mandy?

    Just an update at what the beginning of the year has been like for me during Covid - 19.

    It's been quite a year so far for me. I was offered a two week supply assignment starting at the beginning of the year. I have been teaching grade 7. I have had to make sure all students are wearing masks at all times in the class except when they eat. Students stay int he same class and different teachers come in to teach a variety of subjects. Normally grade 7's would travel to different classrooms, but not this year with Covid.

    I have had to spend some time teaching students their line order and seating order. So when they come into the class they aren't passing each other. When students come into the classroom either from recess or gym, they have to line up and wash their hands. I had to teach students how to wash their hands correctly, and to keep their distance as well. It is very hard to keep grade 7's away from each other especially during gym and at recess (It's near impossible really).

    It can be hard to hear my students talking with masks, plus most of my students are originally from the Middle East and have an accent which can make it extra difficult to understand them. I always wear a mask as well. I also have to wear a face shield when I get close to students or go into another class. It has been an interesting first two weeks back, and that's an understatement. There have been a number of Covid cases in schools in my city already.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarilynMonroe View Post
    most of my students are originally from the Middle East and have an accent which can make it extra difficult to understand them
    ...fortunately, you have your Kuwait experience to fall back on...

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the updates, mandy & MM.

    Here in PI, public schools are still off. They'll start by October, I think - very delayed school year (which usually starts in June).

    Private schools were allowed to start in August if they have the means for online learning. Since private school employees depend on tuition fees for their salaries, most gave it a go, since for most private schools, no work = no pay, unlike in public/ govt schools wherein the govt pays their salaries. Based on reports, several private schools had to close because of low enrollment - many ppl transferred their kids to public schools because they have no more $$ to pay the fees, due to unemployment. Accdg to recent reports, PI has >40% unemployment now due to the pandemic, so it's bad. A lot of OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) had to come home because they were laid off from their jobs (in retail, service, hotel, cruise ships, maritime, etc). PI economy isn't too dependent on tourism (~13% of GDP) but it is very reliant on OFW money.

    Re: PPE, face masks are required when outdoors, and masks + face shields are compulsory when indoors (banks, supermarkets, etc) or in public transport. The govt made face shields compulsory because they found increase in cases in factories (& their shuttle buses) where distancing is difficult. Face shields are a bit cumbersome, but they do prevent you from touching your face.

    My neighbors' kids are happy that they're still on vacation. My sister's kids have online classes (private school) but they're used to the situation - been like that since March.

    I think when public schools start, kids will go to school on rotation - will update next time.

  7. #7
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    We are totally back to normal here school wise, no masks, no social distancing and no online learning. All of this is possible as there are no cases in the general population and only 10 people have it in a isolation hospital. The border remains closed and a number of students have been trapped overseas since February, which must be seriously frustrating for all concerned. The lockdown did have some impact on my students both positively and negatively. Starting on a positive note, none of my student's English actually regressed, however the lack of opportunities to socialize has seemingly effected some in a detrimental way. To be fair these kids had behavioral issues already and the school was trying to be proactive at improving and supporting it, but months of this not being possible has really set them back.

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    ^^Wow, thanks for that update, katie. I have heard a bit about the dire situation for some folks. I am still in touch with my friend who often goes there to help the children in a Christian school north of Manilla.

    ^Mandy - That is good that it is back to normal. I can understand the emotional impacts for your students. Hopefully, going back to school will help them over time.

    Everyone is afraid at my school including staff and teachers as Covid has already hit a number of schools in my city. We are in a second wave in Ottawa, Ontario. The premier didn't make class sizes smaller which he originally said he would do. Children do have the opportunity to learn online and about 30% have opted to learn this way. The classes aren't much smaller however even with 30% learning online from home.

    I will be going from school to school to supply teach, but since there is a shortage now of teachers (they are crying for retired teachers to come back now), I may have luck in securing a full-time job soon. For the longest time it was very hard to get a full time contract, but now may be an opportune time to get a full time job (maybe even virtually). My one fear is that Covid will get too bad and schools will close again.

    Keep us updated everyone.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat View Post
    ...fortunately, you have your Kuwait experience to fall back on...
    Yes, for sure. Many of the names seem familiar.. Samir, Mohammed, etc..

  10. #10
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarilynMonroe View Post
    Yes, for sure. Many of the names seem familiar.. Samir, Mohammed, etc..
    Yup, experience really is invaluable.

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