Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Struggles with Motivation During Quaranteaching, Part II

It's not a secret that many this is an unprecedented time with unprecedented effects and that the word "unprecedented" may possibly be the most overused term in the dictionary over the last few weeks.  Throughout the shutdown due to Coronavirus, I have tried to be as open as possible about the struggles that I am encountering.  I have struggled with creativity, with motivation, and have generally been physically lethargic.  I wrote about these struggles in my previous post, Struggles with Motivation During Quaranteaching.  Since writing that post, I have had time to reflect and interact with others and felt that it was necessary to write a follow-up to the post.  

Before I dive any deeper, I want to make a clarification.  By no means do I want to make my problems bigger than they are or more important than other problems that many people are facing at the current time.  There are thousands of people that have been more negatively affected by this pandemic.  Those that have been lost their job or have had income reduced, those that have been in isolation, without the ability to leave their homes at all, those that have contracted this terrible disease, and those that have lost loved ones during this time are the ones that deserve the attention and sympathy over me.  The issues that I have been having during this pandemic are what many will often refer to as first world problems.  That being said, while I have been struggling, I recognize there are many others that are in a worse situation than I.  

Since I wrote my original post, things have improved on various fronts.  I found a new home in Las Vegas and have settled in, minus a handful of boxes that still need to be unpacked.  (It's nice returning to a city that I lived in for several years, it will be nice to see friends again when it is safe to do so, but I also really like not having to learn streets, where the grocery store is, and I have a decent idea about what traffic will be like, although that is off with fewer people on the road).  I still have a few days of remote teaching to do for my current school district, but it doesn't matter where I'm teaching from, so long as I am teaching! 

Mary& I outside of one of our favorite
places, the Greek Bistro, on our first
night back in Las Vegas!
I have recorded a handful of podcasts with new episodes of The BeerEDU Podcast and The Podcast by Sons of Technology now available.  Ben and I had some great guests on BeerEDU, including a returning guest in John VanDusen talking about the importance of teaching the Constitution, Ben Cogswell and remote teaching with kindergartners and his Kinder Rockets, and Nicole Biscotti & Melissa Sidebotham that came on to emphasize the importance of building family relationships.  On Sons of Technology, we had great discussions about motivation during this shutdown (most definitely influenced by my previous blog post) and what we expect to be different when we return to "normal" in the fall.  

My last few days with my current district are wrapping up and it is most certainly bittersweet.  I love my school, even said on several occasions that I would have loved to retire from there.  It hasn't quite hit me that there is a better than good chance that I will never see 99% of my students ever again.  I have been trying to connect with as many of them as possible through video chat or a Flipgrid topic that I drop into Google Classroom each week, simply just to see them, knowing that I most likely won't.  It also has been nice speaking to parents of my students and the gratitude that they have expressed for the last two years that I have worked with their kids.  

At the same time, I am really looking forward to my new school in Las Vegas.  The principal is somebody that I shadowed for several days a few years ago when I was completing requirements for my administrative academy and somebody that I recall stating that I would be lucky if I ever got the chance to work with them.  I did not seek out this position per se, but when I was contacted for the interview, I told myself that if I was offered a position, I would take it once I realized that this person was the principal.  We have already talked about some plans for the summer and the fall, and she even went as far as to send me a text one day telling me how excited she was that I was coming to work with her.  So regardless of what school is going to look like in the late summer/early fall, I am excited for the opportunity but will miss Reno/Carson City dearly.  

I have been more successful in getting out and active.  Before the move, I was walking 2-4 miles nearly every day.  I got away from walking during the move, but I was working very hard unpacking, so I call that a wash.  I have since gotten back into my walking routine and have been eating better as well. Since I didn't really have any food in the house when I moved and didn't have much to bring with me from my old place, it allowed me to make sure to buy good food, not a ton of junk.  Fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish, and lean meats now dominate my fridge and pantry and because summer is approaching and the weather is getting warmer, I am drinking more water.  To tech it up a little bit, I have been using the Google Fit, MapMyRide, and Water Drink Reminder apps.  They are available in the Google Play & App Store.  And on social media, follow the hashtag, #flattenthecurveflattenthebelly, started by the awesome Ed Campos, Jr., as a way to motivate others to be active.  And thank you not only to Ed, but also Joe Marquez and Rolland Chidiac who have been influential in boosting me to be more active and eat better and simply as an outlet to vent occasionally.  

I also have found a little more motivation on another front.  When my book, To The Edge: Successes & Failures Through Risk-Taking, was released, it is a given that I was very excited.  However, the book's release came about a week before everything shut down.  Sales have not been good, in fact, they have been dismal.  While I did not write the book with the intention of earning enough income to retire, it is disappointing that it hasn't been doing well.  However, I know that once society returns more to a semblance of normal, sales may pick up.  And I need to thank Risa Bennett and the team at Pear Deck for holding a contest through Instagram Live where I was able to talk about the book and give away 10 copies of it to viewers of the event.  If interested in a copy, please visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Edumatch to purchase a copy and learn more about how you can be more of a risk-taker!  

As a way to promote the lessons of my book and to encourage others to take risks, I also created a Facebook group.  The group is designed for members to share their risks and celebrate successes and failures.  It is also a place where members can share their creative ventures, such as blogs, podcasts, videos, and more.  If you would like to join, head over to the #ToTheEdgeEDU group on Facebook, answer a couple of quick questions, and join in on the conversation!  

And one more exciting development, I learned a few days ago that I was selected as a digital learning engineer by the Nevada Department of Education.  For the next year, I will be working with the State of Nevada to develop webinars and other professional development for teachers to help incorporate meaningful use of technology in schools.  It is something that I have been doing for a long time, but to be one of 100 teachers in the state to be selected is nothing short of an honor.  

I hope that you are continuing to stay strong, stay healthy, and more than ever, looking forward to relaxing a little bit after weeks of uncertainty and stress.  

Until next time...


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