During the past few weeks, the word "virtual" has taken on new meaning for me. I have been forced to provide virtual teaching for students, attend virtual meetings with colleagues, supervisors and parents, do professional development virtually, and the list goes on. I am sure that many of you have joined me in this virtual world, trying to do our jobs and accomplish daily routines in a different way. Things that take me a few seconds in person have taken me hours to develop online.
The face-to-face contact that virtual technology provides, when it is live, allows us to see each other’s facial expressions, body language, etc. Also, I am grateful that on a Sunday morning, through live streaming, my family and I have had the opportunity to gather around our television via computer and still hear the word.
These are the benefits of our virtual world, but here are some cons. I have to record lessons on video. For a few minutes, I speak to my students with excitement. Immediately, I can turn my excitement off with one button, “Stop.” In reality, or in person, there is no Stop or Pause, because I know from their expressions, body language, or immediate questions when they don’t grasp what I am teaching, and I reframe it and pull out all my tools until they understand.
My job is to teach students to read and comprehend. Interestingly enough, Merriam-Webster defines virtual as “being on or simulated on a computer or computer network.” Merriam-Webster also defines it as being “a hypothetical particle whose existence is inferred from direct evidence.”