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It’s been a really exciting first week! The kids I’m teaching are so interesting and imaginative, and I’m looking forward to having more interactions with them and learning along the way.

One of my favorite moments was during a class that I taught with Alan on Thursday. As the students were getting ready to leave, we were telling them what a great group they were, and I put an applause reaction in my zoom window. The kids found this really funny, and soon they were all giggling and putting reaction emojis onto their own zoom squares.

At our team meeting last Saturday, we came up with a list of words to describe what our group values the most, and one of the words that I’ve been thinking about a lot this week is energy.

I’ve been realizing that the level of energy on both sides plays a huge role in the success of a class, especially over zoom. To engage a class, I have to really make a conscious effort to get all of my enthusiasm across the screen. Similarly, I’ve noticed that even when there’s just a few energetic students in a class who are contributing in a positive way, the whole class of students becomes more engaged. But sometimes, it’s a tricky balance; it sometimes felt like the students who were not as sure of their abilities were feeling overshadowed or lost during class. It will be an interesting challenge going forward to bring out the voices of the quieter students while encouraging the more eager and assertive kids to maintain their energy.

I am also starting to realize how many things I say each day and in normal conversation that I take for granted. Sometimes, I use words or phrases that make sense to me and that I’ve been using my whole life but are hard for the students to understand (for example, we kept saying “awesome” to the kids when they did a good job, but later realized that not all of them knew that “awesome” was a good thing).

I’m really looking forward to the weeks ahead! I’ll keep trying to soak everything in as much as possible.