Be Prepared for the Unexpected [Interactive]

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[0:02] On today’s podcast, I want to take a moment to talk to you about making sure you’re prepared in case your school district where to go to a virtual learning platform.

[0:30] I think one of the hardest parts that we’re all facing right now is that inevitable. When are we gonna get sent home, or are we gonna get to finish our school year in the building? I’ve been blessed and thankful enough that the first nine weeks of our school year to start this year, we’ve been in person with our students every single day for the entire day. Our students have been nothing but fantastic as far as, wearing their masks, following directions, cleaning equipment that we use in class if we use any at all, um, understanding that we need to be extremely flexible as physical education teachers to make sure we keep our students safe. Which means inevitably, that we’re gonna change some of the things that we typically do in our curriculum. It has been a challenge. I won’t tell you that it hasn’t been and I’m sure you’re all facing that challenge.

Do you have a plan in school closes?

[1:11] The thing I want you to really think about though right now is are you ready if in fact, you get a phone call on a Wednesday evening at seven o’clock, that says until further notice, the school will be in an online platform and teachers will be providing that material virtually? Because I’ll be really honest, I thought my colleagues and I were, and I think we kind of did a really good job of preparing ahead of time, but we just got that phone call not too long ago, and we’ve been home for a couple of days. It was a quick turnaround. It was a fast-moving, hey, we got to go to this route, put your plans in place, and we did, and I think for the most part, like I said, our teachers and our high school did a very nice job about it. The physical education teachers that I teach within the health teacher that I work with, we all had some plans in place. We’ve been talking to our students with it about it since the beginning of the school year to try and prepare them because, you know, it is a shock for them to it’s not something that they really wanna do. Our students were really excited to be in school. They were doing everything they could to stay in school, but inevitably, you know, we had a hot spot in our area and we were sent home.

[2:21] So now the question is, are you ready? You know, I thought I was, I think I did a pretty good job. Are there things that I’m kind of frustrated that I didn’t have ready a little sooner maybe, yes. My recommendation to you first is to make sure you have a plan in place. Talk with your colleagues, talk with your administration about what the expectation is for you as a physical education teacher. We are a little bit different than a math teacher in that our classroom is very active. Our students need to be moving. We want them up. We want them understanding why we’re having them move and it’s a little different. You know, it’s one thing to post a video, which I have no problem doing. You know, posting a workout video for our kids, you know, the workout of the day or doing a live stream on Facebook, things like that.

[3:07] But you have to realize that not all of your kids can have that access. You know, I live in a very rural area. So then what? So we had taken all that into account. We have ways for the students to participate in class that is not virtual. It’s an online platform where they can enter in their information into a logbook. They’ve been told what to do. They have been instructed. They’re able to email us questions. So that part has been pretty effective.

Do you keep a record for contract tracing?

[3:35] The thing that I would like to really think about is if your school needs to contact trace. Do you have a recollection of what you did in class and who was with who and things like that, because that part was a little tricky for us at first when we had to do that? We were able to successfully do it, but it took a little bit. So I want you to make sure that you have the ability to say to your administrators if they ask you who was in contact with who, you know, what activities were you doing? Were the kids inside, were the kids outside. Were they 6 ft apart the entire time with a mask on or did you have them far enough apart that maybe they had a mask break? Which they’re allowed in our school district. So it’s one of those things where we had to really you know, fine, tooth comb. Go through it. And the thing that’s that you need to also keep in mind is we were thankful enough to be able to go into our building as faculty to go in and look at our rosters and look at some information to make those decisions the next day.

Do you have materials on hand to keep class running smoothly?

[4:38] If it’s something where your school is shut down and they don’t let you in, are you taking home the things you need to make your school year continue to run smoothly and do you have the things that you need to help that contact tracing with your administration? So I guess my big suggestion to you is have a folder. We’ve been taking our laptops home every day. We’ve been taking those things that we need home with us every day. I really strongly encourage you to make sure you have that plan so that you don’t get caught. And if you already are virtual and you’ve been virtual all year there’s lots that you’re probably doing already that has been awesome. Keep up that fantastic work. I think we’re all doing a great job. Make sure you encourage your co-teachers, whether it’s another phys ed teacher or the math teacher or an elementary teacher. Everybody stressed. Do your part. Maybe you know, offer them a coffee or something, but do something to make everybody kinda feel like it’s a team effort, and we’re all in this together because really, we are. We’re all in this together. In your school, district, in your state, in our country, let’s just keep working. That’s all we can do. Again, just make sure you’re prepared.

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