When you're teaching over video conferencing, there is an entertainment value to it that is different from live teaching. There is an aesthetic to it. You gotta to come out the gate, making sure that you are drawing them in, because if you don't, they're not going to be with you. I would say that the biggest difference between a teacher who excels online and who does not, is a mindset that they believe they are sharing the same space with their students.
You're listening to the Still Curious Podcast with me, Danu Poyner.
My guest today is Seth Fleischauer, who is the President and Founder at Banyan Global Learning, a provider of live virtual programs that prepare learners with future ready skills in digital citizenship, world culture and social and emotional learning.
In today's episode, we talk about what's involved in creating engaging virtual spaces for social and emotional learning, from virtual field trips to meaningful assessment, and what it means to be a camera ready teacher.
Tonight I'm doing a virtual field trip with our sixth graders on Texas, zooming in on TexMex, food as a representation of a fusion of cultures. The students are going to be finding and cooking their own examples of fusion food and talking about the why behind it, why this particular food, how did it come about, what were the cultural factors? What was the improvisation that led to this being created in the first place?
We discuss Seth's journey from teaching at the progressive Earth School in Manhattan to a high needs public school in Brooklyn, how his desire to reform the failings of the broken traditional system put him on the path to becoming an educator entrepreneur, and the very different context of setting up live virtual classes all the way back in 2003.
I did that as a part-time gig while I was teaching full-time and driving out to long island to use the fancy video conferencing box that I had to use in order to be able to make a connection. Be out until midnight teaching and then, because it is Asia time, so classes would end at midnight. And then I drive back to the city and fall asleep and be up at six to go teach again.
Seth shares how seeing his daughter's isolation during the pandemic provided an opportunity to put some of his personal educational philosophies into practice closer to home through homeschooling, but also just how challenging that has turned out to be even so.
I could go straight-up project-based student choice, life is the curriculum, unschooling, whatever I wanted to do. Watching them respond to that was amazing. Watching the rest of the parents in the group recoil a little bit, cause they were like, you're doing, you're doing nothing. That what you're doing nothing?