School Online – Journal – Day 6

Well it’s almost bed time for me, and I’m having to think hard to remember what my day looked like today. It started out slow, and then ended like a freight train!

As I mentioned earlier, our teachers don’t yet know what they will be teaching next week. So, a survey was designed to be sent out to our more than 400 secondary teachers, to request their input as we begin to assign teachers to classes.

Since we are a new school there are no distribution lists. So, I hand-keyed all the names, and hoped that our Outlook email system would find them accurately.  It did, for the most part, but there remain about 20 teachers whose names on our list don’t quite match their email names, and so they won’t have received the request to complete the survey.

It took me a couple of hours to copy and paste both the subject line and body text, and then to BCC each person. When it was done I breathed a sign of relief…. until I received the “gentle” email pointing out that I had identified this year as 2020-2012!  I must have copied that at least  10 times without noticing.

All I could do was laugh!

The survey will be due at the end of the day tomorrow, and then I’ll work with the resulting spreadsheet to create lists for each of the courses we offer, so that we can do our best to match requests to available classes.

That matching will take place on Saturday (no choice but to work the weekend), so that we can get the information out to teachers.  Fortunately the plan is to begin teaching on Wednesday, so they’ll have a bit of breathing space at the beginning of the week to plan, and to reach out to their students.

In my last post I talked about the challenges I anticipate. The one that is preoccupying me is how we create community for our teachers, so that they don’t feel isolated as they embark on a full year of distance learning.

I find that I do my best thinking in the middle of the night. So, it’s off to bed.

I hope your “school start” is going well, or at least as well as it can in these unique times.

6 thoughts on “School Online – Journal – Day 6

  1. Thank you, Dr. Whitmell reading your blog has relieved much of my anxiety. I am an accommodated teacher for Peel Online. I knew there was a lot of work to be done but was getting frustrated as you mentioned a number of times due to not hearing any news. Thank you for acknowledging my anxiety and describing your own over the past weeks.

    I hope as well, that I as an experienced teacher that I can help support the newer teachers during this experiment of an Online School.

    Thank you

    1. Mark: It’s great to hear from you. Yes, as an experienced teacher your contribution will be “gold” to our newly hired contract teachers who have been excessed. I believe that we are going to learn a great deal, and create entirely new ways to reach our students and support their learning. I look forward to our journey together!

  2. Hi Terry,

    Congratulations on obtaining your Doctorate! Tons of work and commitment, so you should be very proud of yourself!

    It’ll be nice to work with you again, even though it is virtually.

    The accommodated staff at my school created a What’s App group so we have been staying connected that way. One of the teacher’s mentioned your blog, so that’s how I became aware of it. A bit of grumbling that they heard about the Wed. start date from your blog instead of by email. I read your posts from the beginning of September and found the information useful and perceptive. Perhaps you could invite teachers to follow your blog to make them feel welcome and to see what’s happening from your perspective.

    Take care. Good luck with the scheduling to get us ready.


  3. Hi Ms Whitmell:
    First of all thank you for sharing your side of the story during this uncertain and ever changing time. It has definitely made me feel less anxious and more calm knowing the challenges the administration team has to overcome to address the overwhelming demand for online school. Good luck with creating all these classes. I am a new hire who has been excessed and will be teaching online. I got an email last week from my holding high school principal that I was placed in a certain subject area. Therefore started planning accordingly. However, after receiving the Google form sent out to ask for teaching preference I have stopped planning. As I am doubtful that may be my subject area will change now? Any thoughts 💭
    Thank you

    1. Hi Nav:
      I wish I could be more certain, but I’m not the one placing the names. However, the survey was to learn more specifics about preferences, so I’m confident that the results will be positive. It’s really now a matter of matching what teachers have told us to what fits in the Quadmester structure. I think you can likely relax, and imagine that it’s only a matter of a decision between courses within a department, not a move to a new one!


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