I Wrote a Book! The Hybrid Teacher Survival Guide
At the risk of jinxing myself by writing about 2020 before it’s over. I’ve finally had a moment to reflect, take a deep breath, clean out the fridge, and post something new to the blog.
In Mid-March of 2020, I was working full time teaching 7th & 8th grade language arts at a hybrid school (PSD Global Academy) and preparing to deliver at an EdTech conference in Arizona over spring break. My husband and I had decided to make a vacation out of it. We rented a car, we were going to go hiking and see some big cactus...
The conference pivoted lightning quick into an entirely virtual event hosted on Google Meet, and gave each presenter the opportunity to switch to a different session if the one we had been planning to deliver in-person no longer applied.
Having had experience teaching remotely at my hybrid school, and seeing the number of school districts shutting down across the country, I thought it might be helpful to design a session called “Best Practices for Online Learning.” I was really nervous because I wasn’t sure any full-time classroom teachers would want to attend a session on online learning, but little did I know, not only would that session be well-attended, but it would launch me into a massive new adventure.
My EdTech website and blog (the one you are probably on now) went from a couple of daily visitors to thousands of daily visitors as teachers started seeking out strategies for remote teaching. Instead of hiking in the Arizona sun, I spent my snowy, quarantine spring break writing blog posts and created training materials as quickly as possible. By the time I went back to teaching (entirely remote) I was regularly training on and sharing my best practices on remote teaching and learning.
Enter the publisher.
A few weeks later I got an email from a publisher, they had seen some of my writing online and webinars, and asked if I would be interested in writing a book on hybrid and remote learning. They weren’t guaranteeing a deal, but asked me to submit an outline and proposal.
Once my immediate wave of imposter syndrome subsided, I decided that it couldn’t hurt to try writing an outline and to see what that might look like. I spent the rest of the following weekend working hard on the outline and proposal, which I submitted and then, feeling inspired, immediately began writing the first draft of the book.
As the weeks dragged on, and I continued teaching and writing, doubt began to set in. I had heard nothing back from the publisher, but I kept writing, deciding that I could always self-publish if the publisher didn’t want the book. Mid-July became my self-publishing goal, to give the summer-planner teachers (like me) enough time to read it and begin implementing some of the ideas at the start of their next school year.
By the time the snow had melted and summer rolled around, I was writing like crazy, interviewing teachers, and feeling empowered about taking on such an enormous project.
Then, two weeks before my July launch date, I got an call from the publisher.
They apologized profusely for the delay in their response (it was a pandemic after all) and offered me a book deal.
Now, this was a dilemma. The book was nearly written and ready to be published on my website in a matter of days. I knew that this information was needed by teachers now and the publishing process would mean the book wouldn’t be released for nearly another year. Of course I wanted to see my words in print, but I always try to stick with my values and intentions and ultimately decided I needed to continue with my plan to self-publish.
Luckily for me, sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too. When I called the publisher to tell them, they offered a scenario where I self-publish the version that was ready in mid-July, and work on an expanded edition to publish with them in May 2021.
And so that’s what we did.
Since the self-published release of “The Hybrid Teacher: Survival Guide” tens of thousands of teachers have downloaded and read it. I’ve had the opportunity to train and talk (virtually) all over the world, and although the imposter syndrome creeps back in every now and again, ultimately I feel incredibly grateful to the teachers I’ve met who are working hard, against all obstacles, to do the best they can for their students, and who have been so kind and appreciate of my work.
Currently, I am still teaching 7th & 8th grade language arts at PGA, training for schools and districts remotely, and working on the second edition of “The Hybrid Teacher.”
I also got a puppy. Just to keep things interesting.
As I arrive at the end of this post, I am trying to summarize why I wrote it and I think what I ultimately want to say is this: This year has been really difficult for so many for so many reasons and I just wanted to check in. It has been a while since I posted and I wanted to let you know why.
While I continue to write the book, I am planning to be posting some concurrent article over the next few months. I’ve learned some awesome things and I am really excited to share.
I also want to say thank you for your support of my work. Sometimes I feel like a crazy person and I start to question everything and feel the urge to quit it all and just bake pies instead; but the Tweets, letters, emails, donations, and chat box comments have made it all worth it. Thank you.
Looking forward to connecting with you all again soon.