By: Grace Abraham
Who knew what 2020 was going to be like? What started out as a normalish year turned into a full blown pandemic. But through the challenges, there was growth, and that’s a word that Randy Williams would use to describe this year.
“This year has been hard, but there are lots of positives too,” The English teacher says. “There’s lots of technology I’ve been able to learn and leverage to help differentiate instruction to meet different learning styles, and I’ll continue to use things like Loom and stuff.”
Loom is a free screencasting and video messaging tool that enables you to record and share your videos. In just a few clicks, you can have an entire lesson put online for students who are not at school.
“One thing that I do that definitely works is I’ll post a daily Loom for students,” Williams says. “We’re no longer stuck in time and space; we can evolve past that. Kids can be at home and anywhere and still be able to collaborate with each other. So a lot of these technologies I will keep and add to instruction once we come back together.”
Not only has Williams come up with new things to do for his classroom, but also at home with his sons Parker Williams, 6, and Shep Williams, 2.
“My 6 year old son Parker has autism and CP [cerebral palsy]. We send him to school in order for him to stay and catch up with his classmates and get services and things like that. We changed his diet to a whole foods type diet which really made a dividend to him. And in terms of his therapy, we’ve actually been able to really make some good strides,” he says. “So far so good, we’re adapting and thriving.”
Along with that, Williams has come up with ways to keep his kids from going stir crazy with all the time they spend at home.
“I’ll set up obstacle courses and the kids love it because it’s fresh and new and it keeps them active,” he says. “Basically we’ve tried to utilize outdoor spaces as much as possible. We go to parks, we take walks, we do drives and things of that nature.”
Even through the craziness of 2020, Williams says one specific thing has impacted him so much that makes him forever grateful: quality family time.
“I had time with my sons I wouldn’t have typically had with them through the quarantine and the stay at home order that was really valuable,” he says. “Especially as young kids because this is a time that I’ll never be able to get back with them. And it’s just created a less hectic environment for me outside of class.”
And one way that Williams suggests to help your environment be less hectic is to remember to be respectful.
“I would communicate to kids, I mean they are their own individuals, to just be respectful and aware,” Williams says. “Be aware that some people have loved ones who are a little high risk or maybe even themselves don’t look sick or look like they’d be high risk, but they are.”
Remember to stay safe and have fun going into winter break. If you find your house going stir crazy, try some of the things that Williams suggests, like building an obstacle course!