I've been teaching online for about the last calendar year now.
Back in the spring of 2020, I was teaching asynchronous elementary art lessons, leaving individual feedback for each of my hundreds of students. This year, I am teaching synchronous lessons online to middle school, high school, and IB art students. (This year I'm also teaching from a different time zone as the borders to my new school's country are closed.)
Students and teachers alike are experiencing screen fatigue. But I'm not here to vent about the obvious negatives to online teaching. I am grateful to have kept work during the pandemic and to have been safe from exposure.
I suppose I'm writing to find a larger perspective and ways to balance.
You see, not only am I teaching to a screen, but most of the rest of my day's activities are all screen-based too:
So much of my time is spent online! And I intentionally try not to be a person who is glued to their phone. Creating balance here is important to me. I've been giving myself visual breaks (the 20-20-20 rule: look away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds to 20 ft away) and trying to correct my posture so I'm not hunching my shoulders and over-extending my neck. And I've been trying to push myself into more hands-on activities like writing "snail mail," playing board games, and going for walks between classes. But even so, my moth-self is plenty happy with all these digital flames I continue to hover around.
Beyond things like staying away from scrolling Buzzfeed or Instagram (I know, I know), do any of you have suggestions for building new, small habits that help balance out our COVID-forced screen time?
Also, since the students are tired of being online so much I've tried to create lessons that they can complete with minimal screen time (though they are welcome to complete pieces as digital art if they wish.) It's difficult though to find balance there: walking students through new topics in a way that they can complete the assignment independently and off-screen. During the independent work portions of the lesson, I've started encouraging them to complete their art outside or while listening to music/audiobook/podcast. But then I feel like a bad teacher to be sending them off! I stay on the Google Meet link for our entire class period and encourage them to jump back on the moment they have questions, as they've learned to do.
How have you found ways to get your students learning off-screen? Are your students complaining of screen time or are they accustomed to it?
Being a lifelong learner means intentionally seeking out experiences that enforce growth and personal development.