Shutdown! We Switch to Online
Like everyone else, the pandemic drove us out of our brick and mortar classrooms and into the virtual world. For the last year, I’ve facilitated our CASA Pre-Service Training with a completely new way of learning core content and interacting as a group. Initially, this was a challenging and confusing endeavor, but ultimately, it proved to be just the kind of engaging social interaction many of us were needing at the time. Similar to me, many of the trainees were working from home. We looked forward to our time together on Zoom each week.
The online training provided the flexibility to help us recruit volunteers who may not have otherwise been able to participate due to their work schedules, lack of child care, health concerns, etc. Checking in with each other in “class” and interacting over the Internet for homework helped us maintain our sense of belonging to a community. In fact, our very first self-proclaimed “COVID Class” created a private group on Facebook to stay connected!
My story wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention that switching to online training did block some older, deeply experienced participants. With regret, I recall a woman with a Ph.D. in Education coupled with decades of experience working in the NYC school system and now newly retired to Savannah. She felt uncomfortable with the online process and, sadly, we lost her contribution as a future CASA.