On Leaving the Brick-and-Mortar Classroom

I’ve been a high school teacher for the last 25 years. I’m also leaving the classroom — but I’m not leaving teaching. Next year will be my 26th year teaching, and I’ve been told that I’ll be teaching on-line, from an office.


This is how we all taught during the fourth quarter of the last school year, except we did it from home, since brick-and-mortar schools shut down, all over the world, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We used screensharing in Google Hangouts (shown above), Google Classroom, e-mail, and lots of other things to finish the school year . . . and we did finish it, successfully. This year, teachers won’t be at home (unless things change, due to the coronavirus), but many of our students will be staying home.

After I’d finished everything up for the 2019-2020 year, I went to school to turn in my keys. At that point, it was obvious that we were likely to have some sort of dual-track system for 2020-2021, with some students receiving instruction at school, and others at home, remotely, using their district-issued Chromebooks. I told my principal that if we did end up doing such a system, that I wanted to be on the “home team.” I don’t want to have to go to school and risk COVID-19 infection, which could then be spread to my family, some of whom are in high-risk groups for this disease. I’ve now received confirmation that I will be a remote-learning instructor next year, presumably working with students from all over the district.

I’m going to miss my old school, both the Sylvan Hills High North Campus and the Sylvan Hills High Main Campus. Sylvan Hills taught me a lot about being a better teacher. As a result, I’m leaving with an improved ability to help students, compared to six years ago, when coming to Sylvan Hills from other schools. My principals at these two campuses deserve a lot of the credit for this. I’ve worked with many administrators over the years, and these two are the ones who have helped me the most in my efforts to become a better teacher.

The coming year will present many challenges. To teach effectively, you have to get to know your students. We’ll be doing instruction and discussions with computers, webcams, microphones, and speakers, so I’m going to have to make a lot of adjustments to get to know my students as real people, while teaching remotely for a full year. The end of the last school year gave me a lot of experience I can build on.

This next year should be interesting, and I am looking forward to it.

5 thoughts on “On Leaving the Brick-and-Mortar Classroom

  1. Although this isn’t about a regular school setting, Robert, I thought you might find it useful to read a recent blog of mine: https://susanka.com/zooming-in-presence/

    I’ve discovered that when I train my workshop attendees to understand the importance of their own presence (which includes paying attention to how they appear on screen—close enough that we can all see each other’s facial expressions and hear each other well) there can actually be the experience of being closer to one another, and better known to one another than when we are sitting in a room together. I hope you have the opportunity to experience what we experienced at the retreat I write about in the blog. If you do, you will have done your students a favor that will last them a lifetime. Cheers!

    Incidentally my Aspie father passed away in early May at the age of 95. The way your mind works reminds me of all the wonderful lessons I learned from him. Thank you so much for all your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad you will get to teach from home. It is a good thing you are so knowledgeable and computer-savvy and versatile and adaptable. Your students are so lucky to have such a brilliant and kind-hearted and experienced professional teach them. I hope it goes smoothly and that you derive an immense sense of accomplishment and joy from school year 2020-2021.

    On Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 11:42 AM RobertLovesPi.net wrote:

    > RobertLovesPi posted: “I’ve been a high school teacher for 25 years. I’m > also leaving the classroom — but I’m not leaving teaching. Next year will > be my 26th year teaching, and I’ve been told that I’ll be teaching on-line, > from an office. This is how we all taught during th” >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oops! I re-read your post and saw that you will be teaching from an office, not from your house. I am hoping it is an office with just a few teachers so that the COVID-19 precautions are easier to apply than at a big school. Hoping everything goes Great. You may enjoy the change! Thank you for all you do to make this a better world.

    Liked by 1 person

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