I posted a video earlier last week about how I reconfigured my hybrid teaching structure. I had to make some changes because it was way too strenuous to keep repeating instructions and trying to figure out where to focus my attention. The first week was fine, but I was vocally exhausted. It was very difficult for me to talk after work, which is why I changed things around. Below, I will outline my plan as well as the pros and cons. My goal is to make these last week- I have 7, doable!
Here is the video I made, while on a very energizing walk! I have recapped most of what I said below.
Focus on one group during games and discussion-based activities.
This seems like more work, but it isn’t. I have my roomies and zoomies do virtually the same work, but I split them for games and discussions, here is why:
- Discussions lagged when I attempted to have them as a whole class. I wanted everyone to feel included, but the roomies were getting restless with some ghosting or awkward silences after I had initiated a conversation with some of the remote students. I saw them immediately checking out and that made ME feel like I was not in control.
- I also noticed that when the in-person students spoke, the remote kids had a very difficult time hearing them. They also were MORE reticent to partake in discussions, which was a pivot from before.
- We have had a bevy of sound issues EVERY DAY and while the remote students were used to it, the in-person kids sat there listless while I tried to get back on track.
- I was exhausted by the end of the day, so much that a kid remarked that it seemed like I was not enjoying the class as much as they were. I was just tired and felted hopelessly chained to the computer.
Some Solutions [See schedule below of a lesson to get a feel of how this works in class]
- I decided to implement the discussion and game activities separately. This GREATLY increased participation and allowed me to respect the different dynamics of each class (You can see my schedule below for details). Students in-person talked nonstop. Also, it made me realize that they really are TWO different groups with different sets of needs. With the in-person group, I was able to tell more stories anecdotally. With the online students, I was able to do my rapid-fire questions when unprepared or shy students ghosted me. It was a win-win.
- When I changed the setup, the remote students’ participation increased. They felt that my attention was on them, and them only. We had our own laughs.
- I stagger their breaks (I do this sometimes but not every day. It depends on the activity). Since we have to give a 10-15 break during class, I normally give the in-person students a break first, while I work with remote students and vice-versa.
- WE DON’T DO EVERYTHING SEPARATELY, JUST GAMES AND LONGER MORE COMPLEX DISCUSSIONS.
What have been some of the onions of this process?
- The in-person kids hear the discussion lesson twice. I told them to bring headphones and work on their next activity.
When do I take a break?
- My break time is usually when I give both groups an assignment, I can take a break.
- I usually take a 5-minute vocal break as well.
- A more connected class. Our class is a bit more chill now!
- More engaged students: Every single person participated in today’s class!
- More dynamic class: students are more willing to take risks.
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