Based on things I've experienced, seen, and heard from people, here is a list of things you (yes you) can do to support teachers during COVID.
So that's five. What am I missing? What else do teachers need from parents and the community?
It's been a bit since I posted, and for a few good reasons. I do not necessarily want this blog to be all upsets. They are there and I want to talk about them, but I never want a single post to be so depressing and anxiety ridden that it serves little purpose other than to make me feel better, I have other means of doing that. Some, however, may just have to be that way.... To say it's been rough is an understatement. To say that that's an oversimplification cannot be overstated (did any of that make sense). So... let me break it down a little....
The Pertinent Facts
So... what exactly happened?
Firstly, I am okay. I have a bronchospasm likely caused by my asthma, caused by.... well potentially lots of things. At first I was afraid it was COVID, but a negative test solved that. To be honest, I was impressed with my doctor/insurance's handling of it. I got a recommendation for a test in less than 20 minutes after calling them. Got the test the next day, and got my results that night. However, since I had symptoms, I wasn't cleared for school. I couldn't get a doctor's appointment for a few days, but it was via telephone and I was so impressed with this doctor's handling of me.... She diagnosed me, gave me care procedures and wrote a note saying when I could return to work. I returned this morning. I felt ready in that I miss teaching. I didn't feel ready based on my to do list of things that had racked up while I was gone and I didn't feel ready knowing that, if I wasn't at higher risk before, I am now.
I won't comment on the school's handling of it, that's not why I'm writing this blog. What I will share is my perspective of my experience at home.
I don't want this to drag on, but I will say that this post (along with some things I've seen on social media) are prompting another post I plan to write this week: How to Support Your Teachers During a Pandemic. So... here are the things I experienced, as briefly as possible.
As I finish this, it is 5:10 in the morning and I am about to get dressed, take my meds to help keep my throat healing and soothe my cough, grab my things, and head back for another day. I am already tired. It could be that I was up until 8:30 last night answering parent emails I didn't get to earlier in the day (I don't usually do that, but since I was out and sick, I am playing catch up). It could be that I was awake from 2:45-3:30, already creating a to do list in my head. It could be that when I logged on to social media this morning I was overwhelmed with articles about parent struggles, student fears, and teacher hatred. I guess it's all these things... So, in preparation for my next post... Teachers, paras, and classroom staff only please... what specifically do you need to be supported? It can be physical and material, it can be emotional, it can be political, it can be scientific. I DO NOT CARE. What do you need?
Today's post is going to be short because it is already 5:15 and I still have so much to do before I leave for school for the 2nd day :). I will expand on each after the first few days with more context, information, etc.
Reflections on my experience
Reflections on student experience
Things I want to do differently
update: I started this post earlier in the week feeling anxious, but like I was managing things well. We then got dealt an unannounced blow that caused panic attacks and sudden onset depression for me as well as anxiety and anger for many of my colleagues too. I share this to say that my tone may seem to change halfway through the post. If it does, this is why.
There are lots of issues and conditions someone may be dealing with in addition to COVID. For me, it includes asthma, a foot condition, food and environmental allergies, and depression and anxiety. I carry a back pack with emergency supplies, which can include braces, socks, ice packs, etc. I keep extra ice packs and socks at school. I carry emergency medications. This is my reality. I cannot afford to NOT plan. Right now, the item causing the biggest anxiety roadblocks for me daily is the fact that I have asthma and I am reporting to a physical building where I have in person meetings during a global pandemic.
My tips and tricks
This is not exhaustive and, as above, you can see examples of and updates on the things I have in my bag, classroom, and at home on my instagram. For now, here's a quick list of five things I have and what they do for me.
Now that I've typed this, I am wondering if a post on grounding techniques would be helpful as a follow up. I will ponder it.
This blog is dedicated to my reflections on teaching during COVID. These posts are my own thoughts and reflections and DO NO represent anyone else's opinions or policies.