Happy & Healthy Learning at Home Teachers Technology & Media

What really matters right now.

Teaching and learning in a time of Coronavirus, an educator perspective

— By Karen Zapata

Karen Zapata is a member of Teachers for Social Justice, an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Francisco School of Education (Official) and Teacher at Berkeley High School.

The words distance learning and online teaching should not be used. This is not what we’re doing. We are providing assignments and worksheets to students.

Teaching and learning is a collaborative act, it’s a social act, and it’s one that only takes place when we have relationships and trust. We are running on the fumes of what we built in our classrooms over the first 3 quarters, but the conditions have changed.

Good teaching involves moves in-the-moment. It involves realizing you covered a topic too quickly, so you go back and review. Or your class was hella dry so you circle back and build a fiery conversation. It involves differentiation for your diverse learners. Do you know how incredibly difficult it is to create differentiated assignments that all kids can do independently? And ones that are just outside of each child’s zone of proximal development, so they are stretched just right. The perfect stretch.

Someone tell me what gradual release of responsibility looks like when we cannot be together? Someone, please describe how I humbly learn from my student’s bank of expertise, their funds of knowledge through google classroom?

And learning happens when we are laughing together, giving each other a bad time and apologizing if it goes too far. Learning happens in community, with people that share ideas that we hate or love and we can face them with our shouts of disagreement or calls of praise. We learn when we sit together and come up with a million metaphors, connecting new ideas to ones we already have.

What really matters right now? Here’s what I care most about from my students:

  • How are you doing?
  • What are you learning about yourself?
  • Your family? Community? Our world?
  • What is being unveiled right now about yourself?
  • Your family? Community? Our world?
  • How can we make lasting change so that what matters is what is given our heart energy and the force of our love?

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