I've been talking with colleagues and friends alike that this current situation could very well be amplifying who we were and what we were doing before the pandemic hit. I have seen teachers who prioritized relationships and positive engagement prior to remote learning create some of the most dynamic YouTube videos, luring even me in to the screen. And I've heard of teachers who were primarily focused on content objectives and test measures continue the same mode in Google classroom. Amplification.
It led to a rich conversation about remote relationships. I still believe that knowing and caring for students, whether through a screen or not, is our primary job in education. It reminded me of the principal a few years ago who told me she prioritized giving her middle school students a high-five, fist pump, or hug every morning, before they walked through the metal detectors. Since we can't give high-fives anymore, I thought of educators' opening lines and facial expressions with students when we first connect with them on a screen. For some, it's warm and connected and builds a bridge for learning together. For others, the anxiety and pressures of teaching content prevails.
One of the most important messages I share with staff and administrators is that our behavior has a direct impact on the behavior of our students. They are still watching and learning from us, and what we focus on, grows.
Remote relationships... How are we creating them through technology?