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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat
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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?

  4. #4
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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.

  8. #8
    Busy gal
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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
    Busy gal
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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.

  11. #11
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    It would seem there are two possible outcomes from some Parliament meeting tomorrow

    1. Schools shut from December 1 and we go back online for 2 weeks before than longer than usual winter break.
    2. On December 1 we just start the longer than normal winter break and give up on the 2 weeks left of term.

    My guess is option 2 due to the lack of time to make a online curriculum again for two short weeks and government sympathy that both teachers and students would benefit from an extended trip to the countryside rather than being locked in an apartment for two weeks.

    Feeling a lot less gloomy after watching the local news the evening.

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat armstrong's Avatar
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    What are the corona numbers like over there? Thailand pretty much back to normal. Bit more spaced out on the carpet and everyone has masks but more often than not the kids have them on their chin.

  13. #13
    Busy gal
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandaloopy View Post
    On December 1 we just start the longer than normal winter break and give up on the 2 weeks left of term
    A longer than normal winter break could be good, eh?

    ---
    New developments on my end as well. My school closed for at least two weeks maybe longer and I am teaching online from home. I had to go in and get all my books and stuff today. The second wave is getting pretty bad, and they are seeing if there are any cases from Halloween in my area. Three or four schools in my city have outbreaks.

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by armstrong View Post
    What are the corona numbers like over there? Thailand pretty much back to normal. Bit more spaced out on the carpet and everyone has masks but more often than not the kids have them on their chin.
    0 cases in general population as it always has been, the big issue here in Mongolia is as it always has been; a nasty seasonal flu that hits the kids hard due to pollution, cold and normal sickness. Many kids here end up in hospital with pneumonia during the winter, so they are being extra cautious this year.

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarilynMonroe View Post
    A longer than normal winter break could be good, eh?

    ---
    New developments on my end as well. My school closed for at least two weeks maybe longer and I am teaching online from home. I had to go in and get all my books and stuff today. The second wave is getting pretty bad, and they are seeing if there are any cases from Halloween in my area. Three or four schools in my city have outbreaks.
    Oh for sure, the pressures this term have been something else, we haven't been able to get teachers in so we have all been picking up the slack and dealing with the normal school extra curricular schedule. We were not supposed to do grand events, but they changed their minds on that pretty sharpish. Currently teaching 30 hours a week, which is a little more than normal in these parts. It's funny how two extra hours can exhaust you.

  16. #16
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    Back to teaching online by the looks of things. Luckily there is only a month left of this term, it might even end earlier than that. Bit glum about it all really, been one of the most enjoyable terms in regards to teaching for sometime. Zoom and Flipgrid are all well and good, but they are never going to replace child centered active learning and collaborative work. If 2020 was a bath bomb it would be a fucking toaster

  17. #17
    Busy gal
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    ^Aw that sucks. I am teaching from home for November at least, probably longer. There were three cases of covid in my school, but we took a proactive approach and started working from home few days before we found out. I don't mind teaching online from home, but I agree that it can't replace real in class teaching. I am finding it hard to get the students motivated, and they are very distracted. I also teach aboriginal children, so with that comes a lot of other issues like absenteeism.

    I am learning a lot about teaching online though and can make all of my materials using google docs/forms/slides and see what they've done. Teaching online can be a lot of work as well. Well best of luck. If you need any tips or tricks ask away and I'll see if I can answer. Kahoot is a fun interactive game, you can make up your own questions and trivia.

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarilynMonroe View Post
    Kahoot is a fun interactive game, you can make up your own questions and trivia.
    Kahoot! - Full Privacy Report

  19. #19
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    I use Flipgrid, but parents have to give consent for their child to use it and it doesn't make up part of the final score of my students (school admin were cool with this). My school does have a thing for paper based tests, I could spend months trying to change the system but it will be to no avail, it's part of the Mongolian culture in terms of education and isn't my battle to be honest. We used Google Forms in the past of online learning, not very kid friendly or exciting to look at, but even grade 1 caught on to it after awhile.

    What I find depressing is how sanitised this makes learning: click this, use this app and upload this. I already miss the creativity and energy found in a real classroom. While a few of my coworkers enjoy the break from classroom management issues (our school has quite the reputation locally!) I find the stress of this online stuff more of a burden. Kids will be kids and I can deal with it. A mardy computer much less so,

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarilynMonroe View Post
    I also teach aboriginal children, so with that comes a lot of other issues like absenteeism.
    Stick with teaching and don't move into politics.

  21. #21
    Busy gal
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandaloopy View Post
    I use Flipgrid, but parents have to give consent for their child to use it and it doesn't make up part of the final score of my students (school admin were cool with this). My school does have a thing for paper based tests, I could spend months trying to change the system but it will be to no avail, it's part of the Mongolian culture in terms of education and isn't my battle to be honest. We used Google Forms in the past of online learning, not very kid friendly or exciting to look at, but even grade 1 caught on to it after awhile.

    What I find depressing is how sanitised this makes learning: click this, use this app and upload this. I already miss the creativity and energy found in a real classroom. While a few of my coworkers enjoy the break from classroom management issues (our school has quite the reputation locally!) I find the stress of this online stuff more of a burden. Kids will be kids and I can deal with it. A mardy computer much less so,
    I haven't heard of flipgrid. I find zoom, so much better than google classroom which is what I use. I never got trained on google classroom and I've been using it since beginning of Oct, when I got this job. I've been learning as I go, but it is pretty user friendly. I think you'll get used to teaching online. This year is a 'new' way of learning /teaching for all. I do feel very bad for the kids, since at least here they missed from mid-March till end of June last school year. And now at least in my board are all learning online full-time. What I'm noticing is some kids have more motivation and self-discipline to learn from home, while others don't. In my case, children often have other siblings learning in the same room and the distractions and focus is hard for some of them.

    You can only do what you can do. It'll be a lost year for many of our students in the school who don't attend or don't do their work. Fucking covid eh.
    It is on the rise in my area, and could get worse come the colder weather which means probably more online teaching. I hope you get to go into school after Nov or Dec. You teach grade 1, correct? It is a lot harder to teach the really young ones as they have less of an attention span. I teach grade 5, but my students seem a bit younger than that.

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarilynMonroe View Post
    I haven't heard of flipgrid. I find zoom, so much better than google classroom which is what I use.
    Zoom is a meeting application where small or large groups can meet and discuss. Classroom does not have this function. If you pair it with Google Meet its doable but the platform is not as stable as Zoom for me.

    Thought you flounced again 2 days ago?

  23. #23
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    This lockdown is harsher, I can't leave my apartment complex unless it is for food or medical care- I have to leave contact details at the gate.
    Working from home is being pushed very strongly, so in theory there might be more parents at home but they are also going to be wicked busy with work themselves, it is a horrible situation for all involved.

    Yeah, the attention span of 1st graders is short, as you say. Not easy and I fear it could end up being a lost year for students who struggle academically. Then there is the social and emotional aspect of shutting a child away in an apartment and not allowing socialization; it's a crappy time to be a only child and it's also a crappy time to be a single parent.

  24. #24
    Busy gal
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    ^Yeah, a big adjustment for sure. Same issues as in lack of parental support at home, which translates in lowered attendance and motivation. I also know some of the parents don't have a car or even a phone. Covid is on the rise, and I foresee working from home for at least a few months, maybe more. I let my students socialize during planned breaks between classes. Being a single child and single parent could definitely be problematic. I just take it day by day and try to see the positives. Good luck! I give them rewards.. like if they do their work and participate I'll give them five or ten mins of some fun game at the end of the day. The emoji game is pretty fun at least my students like it. lol.

    Guess The Emoji - Play Guess The Emoji Game Online Free

    Guess The Emoji Quiz Online Game - The Emoji Quiz

  25. #25
    Elite Mumbler
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarilynMonroe View Post
    I am finding it hard to get the students motivated, and they are very distracted. I also teach aboriginal children, so with that comes a lot of other issues like absenteeism.
    Have you tried getting your tits out?

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