When the school year began, I offered to embark on a whole new adventure as an educational advisor: that of supporting the virtual school of my school service center. A school that will run all year round, with all its students and teachers each at their home. They are more than a hundred students and more than forty teachers, remedial teachers, resource teachers and specialists, among others, to be also embarked on this adventure.
At the outset: focus on the affective dimension
At first, not all teachers were comfortable with the idea. After all, just because you have to stay home for health reasons doesn't necessarily mean you have a passion for techno and online teaching ... or that you feel comfortable. with that. The first weeks mainly focused on managing the emotional dimension to prepare for this start of the school year. We therefore bet on each other's strengths, exchanged, discussed, collaborated.
Shoot a video to introduce our school staff? A few had never used their digital camera to film, let alone shared a video for editing! As one of the teachers at the virtual school put it to me, “a few years before retirement, I'm learning things! "
Give yourself the time to master the technical aspect
Quickly, the fears dissipated with the arrival of the students. Of course, the technical glitches made us stress a bit (and sometimes a lot). “My camera froze, my student can't open and close his microphone, what do I do with my PDF files so that the students can write on them when they all have different devices? ". But each challenge was met, one by one (even if we still have some), thanks to mutual aid, the support of educational and computer services (what would we do without Mr. Serge? !), but also a lot thanks to the ingenuity of the teachers who put themselves in solution mode. It must also be said that they can count on a director who is not afraid to take the plunge and find ways to resolve problems quickly when they arise!
As an educational advisor, I have also been consulted very often. I did my best to accompany, although sometimes I wish I had 4-5 more pairs of arms to respond even faster. What pride to see all these beautiful people evolving in an unfamiliar environment and, let's face it, not always easy. Motivating young people all day to connect and keep learning, while being self-learner, is quite a challenge. But every day, this school team does it.
Do not mistake yourself. I think everyone, students and staff alike would tell you that they would much rather be in class. Myself, I miss my life before where I was entitled to hugs from first graders when I arrived with robots in the classroom! But in virtual terms, we can still experience all kinds of beautiful moments. Like playing bingo online with over 60 elementary school students and teachers in costume on Halloween, hearing super-relevant questions from 4th and 5th graders during a solar system workshop with a guest of the Astrolab of Mont-Mégantic National Park, or to joke with teenagers in Secondary 2 during a workshop on how to take better photos of your work with your cell phone.
Then, take full advantage of the educational possibilities!
And here is one of my most beautiful moments in my career (even if it is very short, since I am starting as an educational advisor). See a teacher who was a little anxious to teach kindergarten from a distance present what she does in front of more than 70 fellow teachers, also in kindergarten, to reassure them about the possibility of having fun teaching online and to share with them its tips and practices!
I'm lucky, no, the privilege, to support this school team since the beginning of the year, to see them grow in digital mode, but also in educational mode. Their questions changed from "Where do I click?" "To" How to evaluate otherwise? ". Because you have to go through a technical end at the beginning of the digital appropriation and, after, you can push the pedagodigital. I see this challenge taken up every day with this great school team.
Promised, it is done.
You just have to give yourself the time, be creative and, above all, help each other!
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