My school has returned to in-person learning after a two-year interruption. Having the kids back is both exhilarating and exhausting!
But, due to ongoing Omicron concerns, students still have the option to stay home and join their classes via Zoom. And, interestingly, many students have decided to do so.
Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to have students here any way they can. But, what I am seeing is the majority of kids are staying home, leaving only a small group to take advantage of the in-person experience. In one of my eighth grade classes, for instance, only two students regularly come to school.
Rather than have multiple small groups of in-person students in my classroom, I decided to try and pool multiple groups of in-person kids together. I did this to provide the students with an experience similar to that they would have enjoyed in previous, pre-pandemic, times.
I checked with my grade-level partner to arrange the switcheroo. Then, on a Friday I walked over to the other classrooms and pulled out the in-person kids, bringing them all to my room to join the students who had come to my room.
The students LOVED it.
For the first time in two years we were together as teacher and classmates. I won’t say anything like “It was our first real class in two years!” or “It was finally an authentic learning experience!” because while online learning was not as authentic as an in-person class, real learning still occurred online. And, real relationships were built.
Having said that, in-person is really awesome. It took our class to the next level. Having a room full of learners was a blast. We had some great interactions, shared some ideas in an engaging way, and came together closer as a community.
Moving forward, I will work with my grade-level partner to find other such opportunities to bring our grade level together.
In the long-run though, I really hope more kids will opt to return to campus.
Fingers are crossed for a quick end to the Omicron wave.