Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Tuesday Slice of Life: October Snow

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Tuesday Slice of Life: 

October Snow

October surprise.
White clings to leafy branches.
Apple peers through snow.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Tuesday Slice of Life: Without WiFi

Looking to connect with a positive, supportive online community? Consider sharing a slice of your life with Two Writing Teachers. All writers are welcome! 

Tuesday Slice of Life: 

Without WiFi

I recently moved to a new place. If you haven't moved in a while, you may not remember how stressful moving can be. Furthermore, moving is also incredibly expensive and time-consuming. Needless to say, I don't want to move again any time soon, especially at the beginning of the school year.

In the last month, one of the things that has been the most eye-opening for me was life without WiFi/home access to the Internet. When I moved, I had to make so many decisions and set up essential services, like utilities, coordinating moving schedules, etc. I did not have a lot of time to sit on the phone with representatives trying to sell me all kinds of services I did not need. Truthfully, I was overwhelmed with what kind of Internet service I wanted and from which provider. Oh yeah, and scheduling a time to sit for a four hour window that wasn't during the school day? This proved challenging and frustrating. I couldn't take off of work just for an Internet installation. 

In the end, by the time I got everything scheduled, it took a little over a week to get my home Internet installed. Fortunately, in the meantime, I could use my cell phone's data and access the Internet at work, so I didn't completely "go dark". 

Going without WiFi for only one week provided me a glimpse of what it's probably like for my students and their families who have unreliable WiFi or no WiFi - including those families who move frequently or who just cannot afford it. Currently, one of my children is in middle school. Most of his homework is delivered via a digital platform. He has a Chromebook assigned to him for the school year through our local school district, but without WiFi at home, he couldn't use it when he was at home. This meant that anything he didn't finish in class he had to do before or after school, or I needed to take him to a location with WiFi. As a parent, I also couldn't easily check his grades. Checking the online learning platforms on cell phones can be accomplished, but it takes longer AND it is more challenging to navigate. Talk about frustrating. 

In the school district I teach in, we are 1:1 (one device per student) at the high school level. Before this year, I always assumed that the device itself was adequate enough for students to accomplish work assigned online. I thought, what else did they really need to get their work done? Since I have had Internet access at home for most of my teaching career, I haven't had to imagine life without Internet access. 

In consequence, this was the first year I discreetly polled my students and asked who had Internet access at home and who did not. I assumed most did, with maybe one or two students who did not. However, I was surprised at the number of students who didn't. Out of 90 of my seniors, approximately one fourth of them reported that they do not have Internet access at home (and are limited to using a cell phone only). Wow. 

In the past, I have asked my students to accomplish a lot of work online. I've always given them time in class, but I have not thought twice about students finishing work at home if they ran out of time. Yet, after living without home access to WiFi for a week, it makes me question some of my practices, including how much time I allot in class for my students to finish their work that requires Internet and how many of my students have access to reliable Internet at home.   

This was just one week without WiFi. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 31: Easter Preparations

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting  a slice of my life , hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  Slice of Life Challenge #21...