When the plane first took off, I wasn’t sure if we boarded a quick flight or had any long layovers ahead. This week, we discovered that our destination was further away, and our return flight was cancelled. This turbulent news shook our plane full of crew and passengers. We immediately reached for the safety manuals, but soon realized that we didn’t have time to read through everything. So, we made the decision to use our best judgement and experiences to make the most of the situation.

The news has been heartbreaking for students, parents and teachers. However, we are trying to make lemonade out of lemons. The hours have been tedious, and the days are running together. Additionally, we are not only calming the fears of our students and parents but dealing with our own anxieties. We formed a bound with our students and don’t know how to virtually say good-bye. We also don’t know how to reconcile missing and supporting them during important events (graduations, proms, First Holy Communions, birthdays, etc.). They are part of our extended family and it seems unnatural to be standing on the sidelines watching them from afar.

We are seasoned educators that love the personal connections we make every day with our family. However, face-to-face and remote learning are two different beasts. We must remember that what works in one setting may not easily translate to the other (for us and/or our students). Additionally, we must be supportive of colleagues that have never worked virtually, fear failing and looking unqualified in front of their students and parents. We must be prepared to handle criticism and not take everything personally. We must remember that we are a team and need to work together to be successful.

The road ahead is a mystery. We will be pushing ourselves and students to reach new heights. Although the path will be challenging, I am looking forward to the celebration at the end. As 21st century educators, we are critical thinkers, creative, collaborative and awesome communicators. One day we look back on this journey and smile at all that we have accomplished. To ensure you make it safely to your destination, come work with PLP as we discuss how to practically deal with the “new normal.” We can’t wait to share our experiences and give you the opportunity to share your ideas and concerns.

Be sure and make plans to attend our Remote Learning Webinar Series, learn more and register here: https://plpnetwork.com/remoteseries/.

Want ongoing free support with Remote Learning? We’re relaunching the PLP Community Hub, this will be a free place to connect, collaborate and find resources on remote learning, it’s launching April 1st! Join the waiting list to be notified as soon as it’s open!

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Christen Dodd

Christen is a Connected Learning Specialist for PLP. After earning her MEd. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Virginia, she began her career as a K-5 Computer Resource Teacher. She enjoyed collaborating with staff and creating technology lessons that engaged students, but caught “the bug” for presenting to educators on a national level. For eleven years, Christen trained educators both face-to-face and virtually with Verizon Thinkfinity. She also served as their Distance Learning Coordinator and Vice President of Professional Development. Christen has enjoyed working with Powerful Learning Practice since 2011 and continuing her work with educators, parents and students alike. Currently, she is also an instructional technology specialist at her children's JK-8 Catholic school.

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