When You Start to Get Angry

These are trying times for all of us. At this point, every teacher in the US is facing school closure that may be two weeks or may be the rest of the year. We’re all at our wits end and we have no idea how to navigate the world of E-Learning we have been thrust into.

I work for two small companies: Fluency Matters and Señor Wooly. My work in both settings is part time because my daily gig is teaching. When we first began to suspect that there would be closures, we never imagined that it would be basically nationwide… and that it might be for an entire quarter of our educational year. I’ve been teaching in Illinois 26 years and there’s never been ONE day when the entire state closed down for a crisis like this… now it’s at least 3 weeks.

Now that the extreme stress has passed and we’re all starting to find our routines, I am noticing more and more teachers who are upset. Upset that they can’t have more free stuff, upset that copyright still applies even when they’re forced into an unusual situation, upset that they might have to change what they had planned for the rest of the year because they can’t use that one resource they had their heart set on.

I need to get 3 things off my chest right now because the complaining is really starting to bring me down…

  1. There isn’t much toilet paper to be found. Everyone needs it, I need it… I don’t go in Walmart and TAKE it… even though I really need it and you really need it, we don’t even consider stealing from a neighbor or from the store. This is what it sounds like when teachers get mad that they can’t make a PDF of a book or record themselves reading it. “But this is what I was going to do next…” Well we are all in a new world of not doing exactly what we were going to do next. Be flexible and do the right thing. Change your plans.
  2. You gave me this free, now give me more free. Guys… that’s not financially responsible for a small business. Everyone is hurting right now. Schools are not even THINKING about next year’s supplies… this is going to hit our economy hard. Be thankful for the people who stepped up and got us through the hardest time… the two weeks when we had no time to plan. We just said goodbye (some didn’t even get that) and started the adventure of E-Learning. Schools are still being funded. Talk to your administrators. They want you to be successful teaching from a distance. Instead of assuming they would never get you something that you can use with your students, find out. If they won’t, they won’t… but be thankful for what we’ve been given and don’t complain about what you think you need next! I couldn’t have done these first two weeks without the free ECourses and Sr. Wooly plans. Period. Thank you Carol and Pat, Jim and Jen.
  3. “I need a way to assess my students without them cheating by using online resources like Google Translate.” Guys, make some changes in your assessments. These kids are teaching themselves right now. Some have no internet. Some have no parental support. Some are hungry. Some haven’t been sleeping because they’re scared… Those interpersonal assessments can wait until fall. This learning is not going to be the same as learning in the classroom with us. PLEASE be flexible. PLEASE adapt so that your goal isn’t to push them to keep up with your normal quarter 4 plans but rather to keep your target language in their ear and love for your class in their heart.

We can get through this together. Our primary concern right now should be the mental health of our students and our fellow educators. They/We can’t see friends. Everything they’ve/we’ve been looking forward to is being cancelled. Oh yeah, and there are a lot of people we know getting sick. School work is great for taking their minds off the scary stuff, for helping them keep a basic routine, and for giving them something to keep their mind busy but it can’t be school business as usual. Connect with them, ease up on them, and lighten their load.

Next year, God willing, we will start in August and we’ll ALL KNOW… every one of us across the nation… that last year’s classes may not have covered as much. We’ll make some adjustments and we’ll move on. Take some time today to send a nice note to your students… to make a change in the day’s expectations and let them know that you were worried about the stress they might be under… to ask them how they’re doing. I promise that they will appreciate you so much when they see that you’re putting connection over content.

17 thoughts on “When You Start to Get Angry

  1. Couldnt agree with you more! We have a role to play in society right now that is even more important than the one we held physically in the classroom! We need to help our students and their families through this tough situation with some gentle support and guidance while keeping the student active in Spanish.

  2. Very well said, Carrie. I’ve been saying this from the beginning: NO ONE is owed anything for free (I’m speaking educationally here, not financial help for those who need it). And yet, so many companies, big and small, along with individuals, are doing just that: providing educational tools for FREE. No one EVER went into business with the plan of losing money. NO ONE. And yet, people walk around with their hands out EXPECTING free, free, free. Thank you to all those who have freely given. I don’t deserve it, yet I am greatly benefitted by it!!!

  3. Carie, thanks for saying what needs to be said. We teachers preach flexibility to our kids, we need to be practice it ourselves. What a great opportunity for professional growth we have been given!! We teachers need to rely on our colleagues, and Professional Learning Networks to get ourselves up to speed and on-board with how, in my opinion, the rest of the school year is going to be. Let’s use this situation to start training these kids how to learn language for the sake of learning instead of for a a grade. I, too, applaud Sr. Wooly and Fluency matters, and all the other companies for helping to ease this transition; many thanks, and if you need a roll of TP, I’d be happy to drive in from the suburbs and share one. 😉

  4. I am AMAZED at all that has been given for FREE already. And the time you and other leaders in the field have put in when we were ALL scrambling, including yourselves. This was a great message. Everything is out of sorts and will be for awhile, let’s all cut ourselves, our parents, our students some slack and get through it the best we can. We do t have to provide perfect learning. Just continue to encourage learning the best we can.

    THANK YOU for all that you do and share. Even the paid resources are a generous gift when I consider my personal time saved, and you guys provide so much more free than just the resources. The guidance, the answered questions, the training. I can’t imagine any other business/industry doing more to support each other. THANK YOU.

  5. Carrie….you nailed it. I feel the same way. Really missing my kids and my routine, but trying to be thankful for little things. Thank you for reminding us what is important.

  6. Well said, written, and expressed! Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to recreate a classroom experience that we forget this is different and while we want our students to learn, we can’t do it the same way. Lots of journals and online quizzes; lots of free choice reading of any material and lots of listening to whatever it is might be where we need to go and that still works. We should be grateful for what is available and modify our own resources or what is already out there to meet our needs and to just give our kiddos choices to keep learning and trying. Thank you for the reminder and for all of those that have shared and are continuing to share the good ideas and resources; the WL community has come together and the support and resources available are amazing!

  7. I am so sorry for the unreasonable demands teachers have been asking of you, of Seńor Wooly, of Fluency Matters, and of all the other wonderful people who create resources for teachers to use on a regular basis. I was shocked when I saw your post last week and now I am saddened even more. Sad because teachers are the ones who are the first to complain when admin or parents make unreasonable demands or even requests that involve additional time to an already packed day. I was super grateful when I saw all of you (superhéroes in my opinion) initiate offers of help. What? I don’t have to figure this out alone? You all are fenomenal in my book and I am super appreciative of everything all of you superhéroes have done. I hope when people come to their senses, they remember to send an apology for their crazy behavior remembering we are all in this together. Thank you again for your incredible generosity and hard work. You’re part of an amazing group of people ❤️

  8. Thank you, thank you, thank you. This needed to be said, and you are working your butt off trying to support people who are just…not being cool.

  9. Thank you, Carrie! You are so right and we need to band together, support each other, and stop complaining.

    I have always said, what we teach isn’t as important as who we teach and that may mean that teaching them to be better people in this world is more important than the math, language, science that we teach them. We need to be leaders and step up.

    We need to support small businesses now more than ever. Fluency Matters and Senor Wooly have been so generous of their time and their resources. I’ve seen some nasty posts out there as well and hope that it’s out of frustration of our current situation rather than an example of their personality.

    Thank you again for this blog and all that you do. I use Fluency-Matters and Senor-Wooly resources throughout my academic year and I will continue to use them in the future.

  10. Carrie,
    Thanks for putting all of that out here for us to hear! I was stuck in a large pile of grief last week and felt so fortunate to being able to utilize the E-courses offered by Fluency Matters! I have also been relying on Sr. Wooly and couldn’t be more grateful! I realized that I love creating & was missing it terribly. Jim’s site,Sr. Wooly, really helped me & my family! We made a video based on ‘Las excusas’, we sang & created scenes with Legos & Barbies! I can’t wait to share it with my students! My creative brain needed that! IT SAVED ME!
    Thank you for all your work! Thank you Fluency Matters team! Thank you Señor Wooly team! Thank you Martina Bex! I felt LOVED by our community of language teachers before we became home bound. Besides making me feel prepared with my classes, I just felt a tremendous amount of love! That is what I am going to try to continue to spread at this time. “Try to love one another right now!” -The Youngbloods

  11. This post is spot-on. Thank you for all you are doing during this time when you are no less stressed than any of the rest of us. Blessings.

    On Tue, Mar 24, 2020 at 8:28 AM Somewhere to Share wrote:

    > senoracmt posted: “” >

  12. Amen, Sister!!!! I can’t believe you even have a reason to write this!!! I am truly sorry that this is the thanks you get for all you do FOR FREE!!!! All I want for you and your family, and the rest of us, right now is to stay safe and healthy!!!

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