First, the exceptional:
Before the break, I had submitted a proposal for an exchange between our girls and the boys at a nearby private school to do artwork. The girls were to go to their school to work on ceramics, and the boys would come to our school to work on printmaking. Since both our schools are segregated, this would be an opportunity for a low-key coed ongoing activity without the pressures of an actual event. This Tuesday the 19th, the proposal was accepted! The principal said it was a great initiative. When I told the girls, they were beaming, and after a little paperwork, we have a bus set up for us this upcoming Thursday.
More importantly, my mural project was also approved by the principal, who took the time to sit with me, encourage the project and praise the design. The wood was purchased this week, and it is smooth and perfect for the mural; I will draw the design on Monday, and the girls who will participate are extremely excited about the project, particularly Jessica, the talented grade 11 girl who designed the overall mural idea.
To top it off, I was asked to give a presentation to the whole senior school during assembly on the 22nd. The topic they asked me to talk about was my experiences, twists and turns between being an almost-dentist in Brazil to being an artist teaching at a private school. More importantly, the administration said they wanted me to reveal the secret for being joyful (they caught me hopping and singing to school, oops!)
I hadn't done any public speaking for the past 20 years, but I made a good slideshow, and in the end, the girls had laughed so hard... everyone had a really good time, including me. Finally today, I went to an all-day pro-D about apps in iPad, and it was very informative.
Now, the negative:
Because my improv team had their big performance the previous Thursday January 14th, I missed OLTD class. I had hoped to catch up during the weekend, but I got the flu -- which is why I didn't teach until Tuesday. I also missed my Monday meeting with my OLTD group, when we were going to continue our discussion regarding our group seminar. A paper which was due this week remained unfinished until tonight. With all the commotion, I have spent the whole week trying to catch up to all the work, but worst of all, I feel very disconnected from the OLTD group. In fact, Wednesday I was considering dropping out of class and waiting this one off until next time.
I can't help but think that, if as an adult, I feel disconnected and overwhelmed, a kid who for some reason misses online class must feel much worse. I think this is probably one of the reasons online courses have such a high drop-out rate... the lack of face-to-face really makes one feel like the ship has sailed and no one even realized you stayed at the dock. There is no one for you to approach after school and ask for notes. How important it is for us to build a strong community with our online students! How can this be further improved? Zoom and Collaborate are good, but how else can we keep our fingers on everyone's pulse? I can't wait to see what comes down the line, and how much online learning will improve in the next ten years.