ZOOMēsim uz KBLS! (Let’s ZOOM to KBLS!)

Mani sauc Dārija Baginska un esmu no Čikāgas, bet pašlaik studēju Mičiganas Štatu Universitātē, Austrumu Lansingā. Es studēju pamatskolas izglītību un koncentrējos “Language Arts” un TESOL, “Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages”. Kopš manas bērnības, esmu turējusi izglītību tuvu pie sirds. Es pateicos maniem skolotājiem, gan latviešu, gan amerikāņu skolās, jo viņi man palīdzēja atrast savu dedzību mācot. Pirms trim gadiem es absolvēju Krišjāņa Barona Latviešu Skolu, kurā es jau trīs gadus esmu skolotāja. Sakarā ar pandēmiju, mūsu skolas gads ir noticis attālināti lietojot ZOOM platformu. Tas man deva iespēju atgriezsties kā skolotājai no tālienes, un par to pateicos.

My name is Darija Baginska and I’m from Chicago, but I’m currently studying at Michigan State University in East Lansing. I am studying primary education with a concentration in “Language Arts” and TESOL, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Since childhood, I have always held education close to my heart. I am thankful for my teachers in both American and Latvian schools because they helped me discover my love for teaching. Three years ago, I graduated from Krišjāņa Barona Latvian School where I have since been a teacher. With the pandemic, we have been using Zoom to have a virtual school year. This has given me the opportunity to come back as a teacher even though I do not live in Chicago and for that I am grateful.

Pirms 70 gadiem, Krišjāņa Barona Latviešu Skola bija dibināta Čikāgā. Pa visiem šiem gadiem, skola nekad nav noturējusi klases virtuāli. Šis skolas gads ir bijis pavisam savādāks skolai, skolotājiem, un arī skolēniem. Šogad es esmu viena, no trešās klases skolotājām. Mēs tiekamies lietojot ZOOM katru sestdienu uz divām stundām. No skolas gada sākuma, pārsvarā klašu stundas bija jāmāca un jāmēģina daudzas jaunas lietas, jo kas strādāja iepriekšējos gados ne vienmēr darbojās virtuāli. Šis ir redzams ar darbu, ko skolotājiem ir jāsagatavo ārpus klases. Iepriekšējos gados, varējam sagatavot materiālus samērā ātri. Tagad mums paiet ilgāks laiks, jo ir daudzi materiāli, kas ir jāizsūta skolēniem vai vecākiem pirms stundām.

Chicago’s Krišjāņa Barona Latvian School was founded 70 years ago. Throughout its history, classes have never been held virtually. This year has been completely different for the whole school, its teachers, and its students. This year, I am one of the teachers for the third grade class. We meet using Zoom every Saturday for two hours. From the beginning of the school year, we had to try and teach a lot of new things because what had worked previously could not be applied to our new situation. This is most evident through the amount of work we, as teachers, have to do outside of class. Before, we could prepare materials somewhat quickly. Now, it takes us longer because there are more materials that we have to send our students and their parents before class.

Pirmā semestrī, man bija daži šķēršļi, kas lika man gudrot – kā tikt galā. Skatoties atpakaļ, par to esmu ļoti lepna, jo zinu tās pūles man palīdzēs kļūt par labāku skolotāju, speciāli, ja satikšu citus šķēršļus nākotnē. Pirmkārt, šis skolas gads man pavisam mainīja iespēju veidot personālas attiecības ar skolēniem, jo neesam vienā kopīgajā klašu telpā. Arī bija diezgan grūti, ka es nebiju Čikāgā, kur galvenokārt mani bērni pa gadu atrodās. Pēc dažām stundām, es ievēroju cik daudz vairāk man būs jāpiestrādā uzturēt šīs attiecības. Tas notikās runājot ar skolēniem par viņu ikdienām, un ne tikai klašu materiāliem. Lietojot ZOOM, es iemācījos vairāk par katru bērnu. Es labāk sapratu viņu valodas spējas un arī viņu intereses. Šis man palīdzēja sarunāties, mācīt, un iesaistīt skolēnus, jo viņiem patika, kad mēs aptvērām personīgu informāciju.

In the first semester, I went through a lot of obstacles that pushed me to think about how to get through this year. Looking back, I am really proud of how I managed because I know those efforts will help me become a better teacher, especially when other obstacles surface. Firstly, this school year has completely changed the personal relationships that I am able to have with my students because we are unable to be together in one classroom. It was also hard because I am not currently living in Chicago, where most of my students are from. After a couple of classes, I realized how much harder I would have to work to maintain those kinds of relationships with the kids. This meant talking to the students about life rather than just school materials. Using Zoom, I learned more about every kid. I was able to better understand their language abilities and their personalities. This helped me engage them in learning and hold their interest because they like when we incorporate our own personal contexts.

Otrukārt, es ievēroju skolēnu koncentrācijas robežas. Jaunākiem skolēniem ir grūtāk piestrādāt pie uzdevumiem ilgāku laiku un koncentrēties uz vienu priekšmetu. Tādēļ, mums bija jāpiestrādā un jāsameklē vidējo punktu, kurš atļauj viņiem vislabāk mācīties. Skolas diena ir tagad īsāka. Satiekamies tikai uz divam stundām, kur parasti mums bija aptuveni piecas stundas. Ar ZOOM ir ļoti svarīgi, ka mēs visi esam gatavi un pilnīgi iesaistīti stundas laikā. Pārsvarā skolēni šo saprot un ierodās laicīgi uz stundām ar gataviem materiāliem! Šāda piedalīšanās palīdz bērnu mācībām. Tamdēļ, kad skolas dienas ir īsākas, skolēni ļoti priecājās. Ticiet vai ne, arī skolotāji ir laimīgi par to. Ar īsāku skolas dienu, mums ir ciešāks fokuss. Skolēniem ir mazāk jautājumu, sakarā ar kas ir un nav svarīgs.

Secondly, I realized how important it is to consider concentration spans of children. Younger students have a harder time working or concentrating for long periods of time on one subject. For this reason, we had to work and find a middleground that would allow the kids to learn best. School days are now shorter. We only meet for 2 hours instead of the usual 5 hours. With Zoom, it is really important that we are all ready and fully engaged during class time. Most students understand this and show up on time to classes ready with their materials. This participation helps with their learning. Therefore, when school days are shorter, the students are happier. Believe it or not, teachers are also happy about that. With shorter school days, we have a sharper focus. Students typically have less questions about what is or isn’t important.

Starp citu, es domāju vislabākie un izpalīdzīgākie ieteikumi ir nākuši no skolēnu vecākiem. Bez viņu atbalsta, šis gads nebūtu gājis tik gludi. Viņi ir tie, kuri patiešām palīdzēja ZOOM sadarbībām izveidoties. Skatoties uz bērniem, es zinu, ka bija grūti sākumā piedalīties virtuāli, bet viņi ieradās katru sestdien ar smaidiem uz sejām, lai mācīties kopā ar klases biedriem! Pandēmijas laikā visiem ir bijis jāņem savādāku soli lai piestrādātu kopā ar citiem. Mēs, kā tauta, turpinam uz priekšu, vai no Čikāgas, Austrumu Lansingas, Iovas, Teksasas, jeb citas mājas pilsētas.

Besides what I’ve already mentioned, I think the best and most helpful things have come from the parents of our students. Without their support, this year would not have gone as well or as smoothly. They are those that really help our Zoom classes run efficiently. When I think about the kids, I know that it was hard for them in the beginning to participate virtually, but they still showed up every Saturday with smiles on their faces ready to learn with their peers! Because of the pandemic, everyone has had to take different steps to collaborate with others. We, as a people, are moving forward whether from Chicago, East Lansing, Iowa, Texas, or any other places.

Turpināsim uzturēt mūsu latvietību – droši, bet attālināti!

Let us keep our Latvian heritage alive- surely, but safely!

Dārija Baginska

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