Who could have imagined that COVID-19 would be become a global pandemic
that would result in every school in the U.S. closing!?
COVID-19 became a little more ‘real’ to us a few weeks ago, when some of our colleagues shared their stress as they were hearing rumblings about COVID-19 and possibly closing down school for a week or two. “Prepare distance-learning for all of your students; oh and differentiate by level,” their administrators said. This was mandated while teachers were still in the classroom teaching FULL TIME! How in the world could teachers who are in the classroom teaching all day prepare their daily lessons AND simultaneously CREATE DISTANCE-LEARNING materials for their students… IN CASE of school closure?! As teachers ourselves, we knew this would be nearly impossible for any human to accomplish.
The Fluency Matters Team empathized and immediately sprang into action to try to help. We thought “Hey, let’s create special 3-week e-courses for teachers facing the insurmountable task of creating distance-learning materials and/or school closure. Their lesson plans will be instantly taken care of, and if schools happen to close, students will have access to high-quality comprehensible input!”
First of all, we had NO IDEA that so many teachers would seek out Fluency Matters as their E-learning solution! We are absolutely humbled that you have placed your trust in us during such a stressful and difficult time. We also had NO IDEA that every teacher in the country would be in the exact same predicament within just a few short days!
The response to Fluency Matters’ Free 21-day E-courses was overwhelming– literally!
We knew we couldn’t let you down!
Within days, hundreds of teachers converged on the FluencyMatters site, scrambling to get E-courses set up for their students before students began distance learning. The first wave of school closures brought thousands of students to our E-learning platform. Our site faltered under the weight of tremendous web traffic, and although it was a bit stressful, we refused to give in and responded to the need by upgrading our servers in order to support the additional traffic. With all the new schools and teachers, we also decided to upgrade to a dedicated IP for sending out E-learning system e-mails.
That ‘hum’ turned to a hmmmmm when the President declared a national emergency and almost every school in the country closed! Thousands more teachers came to FluencyMatters.com for help. With thousands of new “distance-learning” teachers seeking quality materials for their students who were new to learning at home, our servers were once again straining. It was a sobering sign of just how big this crisis is and how many people are counting on us for help. It’s a responsibility we don’t take lightly.
When engineers said we could expand again, we pulled out all the stops and upgraded to the top tier possible on our server.
We made room for MANY more users and are so delighted to see so many teachers benefiting from our e-courses and learners benefiting from quality CI.
We are so grateful for our colleagues who patiently worked with us and supported us as we made adjustments to our system. Your patience, understanding, and kind words of gratitude and encouragement are so appreciated. We felt the stress of thousands of teachers across the country and would not have been able to bear if it were not for our colleagues who supported us through the trials of adding TENS of thousands of language learners within a few short days.
Crises can bring out the best in people or it can bring out the worst. We’ve witnessed many, many amazing colleagues such as Martina Bex (The Comprehensible Classroom) and Jim Wooldridge (Señor Wooly) who have displayed utmost dedication, care, kindness and generosity during this unsetting time. We are so grateful that together with our colleagues we were able to ease the tremendous burden that was unexpectedly heaped upon your shoulders.
To all of the new users on FluencyMatters.com, we welcome you to the FM Family and thank you for your patience as we worked through some temporary growing pains. We want you to know that we are doing all we possibly can to not only help you navigate these uncertain times but to also provide your students with a top-notch language acquisition experience under your guidance.
This situation won’t go on forever. Please remember to take time to care for yourself too. Nothing is going to be ideal during a nationwide school closure, and it is important to have perspective on the situation and grace with everyone you have (socially distant) contact with. We look forward to continuing to earn your trust as you return to your classrooms, whenever that may be, and in the meantime, we are here for you.
In case you were one of the many who were wondering…