Amid Covid: Teaching in a Pandemic

Week 1: Launch in 10,9...LAUNCH.

Assignments online? Check…with 887 video tutorials I’ve made dating back to 2012.

Students ready to complete work in a completely new way, taking on all time-management responsibilities? That one’s tricky.

My 6 and 7 year old kids ready to sit still for hours doing work, letting me do my own work? Ha, no.

Last day of class before Work-from-home, our guest speaker spoke on "Changing your Mindset". How fitting.

Ongoing S.M.A.R.T. Goals Project

My plan is to improve myself in a specific skill set, and use SMART goals to achieve this.

SMART Goals – Defined

My SMART Goals


I will complete a 2D Space Shooter video game made in Unity by the end of the school year.

MODIFIED in APRIL: I will be able to identify 3 new hobbies for each of my children by exposing them to new experiences

Update: Tuesday, 3/31

It’s been hard not seeing my students in person. Online teaching is a different skillset for both the teacher AND the student. It’s more accountability. There is a lack of “presence” That can only be made up through synchronous meetups using video chat, or if it were realistic, in a VR setting.

Things that are different about this new way of teaching life:

  1. Time is relative. The school day is an amorphous blob that oozes around from morning until evening. Answering Schoology messages at all hours is normal. Note to self: Ignore Schoology messages starting at 6 pm.
  2. I take my kids with me to work everyday. Their work interrupts my work, all day. Note: Preload several activities for them, not one at a time.
  3. I know more about what my kids are learning. I see what comes easy, or hard, and know them better as a result. A positive!

Friday, 5/8: It's the end of the year as we know it

I went to school this morning to get VHS tapes to finish digitizing. The school still feels cavernous without students. I miss them.
This is what it looked like:


May 13 - End of Year Zoom Meeting (Q+A w/ T&E Students)

Q1: How did you grow this year?

  • “We bonded through, I felt more accepted as a result of the sit-on-the-couch meetings”
  • “I left my comfort zone!”
  • “I’m a new me. I switched from an Engineering major to Business”
  • “I can now just jump in without caring if I’ll mess up or not”
  • “I have better personal skills, less anxiety”

Q2: What DIDN’T Work this year?

  • “We got off topic a little too much. The Grit9 Club ideas were good, but started too late.”
  • “Got off track more than I should of. To-do list was good but we avoided some of it. The club was not working…we need ways to get more attendance.”
  • Me: “Not enough structure in leadership training, tech skill training, tracking the training (Quest based next year?)
  • “Getting off task and not immediately getting back on task”
  • “The Grit to Great book was good, we just didn’t finish it, it needs to be a priority”
  • “Stay on task!”

Q3: What Advice do you have for next year’s T & E Class?

  • “If it needs done, do it. Don’t wait for someone else to.”
  • “Jump into what needs done, could be website, vhs, scanning, etc. Get over¬† your like/dislike, you get to work with clients”
  • “Start the marketing plan immediately”
  • “Invest in themselves, how to communicate with each other (couch conversations, critical decision making, running a client meeting)”
  • “Trust-building activities – couch conversations, Games like Snake Oil, making phone calls, the ‘my identity’ presentations are great”
  • “Open yourself up as early as possible, do Ted Talks (watch one, write about it, optionally give one)”
  • “Nothing grows in your comfort zone…leave your comfort zone”

Q4: 2019-2020 was the year of ____.

  • “Adapt and Survive”

My SMART Goal - Final Update (5/15/2020)

My goal was modified in April to “I will be able to identify 3 new hobbies for each of my children by exposing them to new experiences”

Here’s how I did:

Mark Suter
Author: Mark Suter