Last night was my first online class. I taught a group of teens from a synagogue school in Chicago. For them, it was 6:30p.m., but for me, it was 2:30a.m., and I had to figure out how to manage the activity and my need for sleep.
To be honest, I hadn't been looking forward to the class -- the whole technology thing makes me nervous, and I hadn't been near a classroom in several years. Not to mention the middle-of-the-night gig.
In the end though, I enjoyed the class. There were 2 groups, one after another. They were lively and engaging and had great answers to the questions that I put out. Actually, quite mature, considering their ages - I was impressed. Plus, they seemed to enjoy the class, and that gave me a lot of confidence that I was on the right path.
One of the elements of the lesson involved watching a short video clip and using it as a basis for further discussion. Both groups really enjoyed the clip, so I must try to include more videos in future lessons.
It's a challenge to teach a lesson online when you can't see your students very well (one at a time, and I'm always worried that the technology will fail at any minute and I won't have a clue of what to do to fix it) but, aside from the 2:30a.m. issue, I can say that I had fun. I also suspect that if my more kids had a more interactive class structure, they'd enjoy school a lot more. I know that I would have.
The snow did, in the end, fall and we had enough of a build-up for a few good snowmen and some snowball fights in the neighborhood. The jokes about the flooding in the center of the country ran thin by yesterday, when it was clear that many people were distressed and suffering. But there were still a few that deserved notice.
And, of course, snow in Israel is always good for a few "only in Israel" moments.