In March, there were many questions for our Chinese students, especially those who returned early to China and were subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. School leadership decided to treat the quarantine as a medical leave; that is, students would not be responsible for missed work, although some valiantly carried on. Teachers have been generous with deadlines, as well as excusing some work. In classes, the Chinese students have brought their best intentions to the table.
Unlike other teachers who may have 1-4 Chinese students in a class, I have two classes of all, or all-but-one, Chinese students. Those classes meet at 11:35 and 1:30, and there is a 12-hour time difference between China and here. I added extra office hours on Wednesday mornings (and other mornings, as needed) at 7:30, which serve as check-ins, alternative class meetings and quiz make-up times. Also, since ELL is a culture and language skills class, oral expression work is crucial. I’ve offered both groups choice in whether to present live in class or record their words for me. With the time difference, I also rescheduled one final to an earlier time in the day.
Finally, some Chinese parents have been looking for feedback from the school, to get a
snapshot of how their child is doing with distance learning. I’ve been gathering information from teachers to send to the homestay agency to transmit to China. Living in a virtual world requires a lot more written communication, and in these cases, translation. Our Chinese students are “our kids,” and they’re as well cared-for now as before the pandemic.