Glasgow’s Giant Leap to Concurrent Teaching

Glasgows+Giant+Leap+to+Concurrent+Teaching

By: Brooke Ehmann – Jones

March 21, 2021

 

Have you noticed that your teacher is teaching from the school building? Yes, that’s right, they’re teaching concurrently! Concurrent teaching is when a teacher teaches students in-person, and virtually at the same time. Our Glasgow teachers and staff have been working from the school building for about a month now, and have been teaching students in person for 1 – 2 weeks. The purpose of teaching from the school building was to get the teachers acclimated with the routine. “It would help me start to sort of wrap my mind around ‘okay, I’m in the building, eventually some kids are going to be in the classroom, how do we do it?’” explained Dr. Stevens, a 7th-grade History teacher at Glasgow. 

Since teaching in person comes with its changes, teachers must adapt to a new schedule. Mrs. Logan, a 7th grade English teacher at Glasgow, explained how she usually gets to school at around 6:40 a.m. She boots up her computer and gets her tabs open and set up, but does not have to do much else because she had planned the lesson. Though, she does say that, “It hasn’t changed a whole lot, to be honest. Either one, if I was at home or in person, I still had a schedule, I still had a routine. The only difference now, is I have to get up earlier because I have to drive to school.” As you can see, the commute is a huge change for teachers, making the workday seem a little longer too. During virtual school, when all of Fairfax was virtual, Mrs. Logan found it hard to find a balance between her work life and home, because she was working from home. “If I could avoid taking work home, I’d like to, because I like to have the separation of work and home. And that was also one of the struggles of being at home was that there was no separation, work was always there.” 

When asked if he feels safe teaching concurrently, Dr. Stevens replied, “As long as everybody follows the social distancing and safety precautions, I’m good.” Mrs. Logan agrees. As you may have seen, whether you’re going to school in person, or staying virtual, teachers and students must follow certain safety precautions to stay safe. Things like wearing masks at all times in the building (except when eating lunch); maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet; and cleaning down surfaces regularly. All students and staff must follow these precautions to make sure everyone stays safe. Also, concurrent teaching has affected the overall dynamics of a classroom and how it runs. At the beginning of this school year, teachers were struggling with switching everything they would normally do in class, to virtual lessons, while still trying to foster an environment somewhat similar to in-person school. Now, the new challenge is finding a balance between teaching the two groups: virtual and in-person students. Both Mrs. Logan and Dr. Stevens expressed their experience with this: “With concurrent, it’s been challenging because it’s now trying to find a balance of making sure I’m interacting enough with people that are online and also not neglecting the ones that are in person. So that’s been the struggle, finding the balance between the two groups,” said Ms. Logan. Dr. Stevens said, “Whether you were aware of it or not, you could sort of be interacting with two different groups, in the same conversation. That’s the goal, we have everyone together in one way or another.”

Overall, concurrent teaching has helped Glasgow teachers reach out to their students even more and keep them more engaged.  “What a teacher should be constantly thinking is, alright, how did that last class go, and how can I use that to modify and make the next one better,” says Dr. Stevens. Mrs. Logan agrees that even though managing two groups of students can sometimes be difficult, being able to see students in the classroom and their physical reaction to a lesson, really helps with planning, and makes the lessons more engaging for in-person and virtual students. 

Even though concurrent teaching can be way more stressful than teaching from the comforts of your own home, both Mrs. Logan and Dr. Stevens say they enjoy concurrent teaching, and love getting to interact with students. Mrs. Logan says all of the things she missed about in-person school, “Being able to have those human interactions; being able to talk to one another. And I just missed the conversation.” She is now able to do with concurrent teaching. Lastly, Dr. Stevens shares his views on concurrent teaching: “It can be effective if done well. It can be ruined by a teacher that is not engaged or students that aren’t engaged. It can also be ruined, by whatever level of administration it comes, by people trying to exert too much control over what you do. Because, what’s great about Glasgow is that teachers plan together with teams, but we are given the freedom to vary what we do to meet the needs of students.” 

Hopefully, teachers will soon get down to a good rhythm and balance with concurrent teaching; being able to learn from day-to-day interactions with students, to better engage students virtually and in person, and meet their learning needs. Thank you, Glasgow teachers and staff, for working hard to meet the needs of students in person and virtually with concurrent teaching!