There are posts all over that say that this time is hard for teachers. Sometimes the response is that we are being insensitive to first responders who have been on the front lines since March. Sometimes the response is that we are first responders. And, sometimes, the response is that we are complaining for no reason because, well, "COVID isn't real". Today's post is to assure you that it is, indeed, real. This is not an easy post to write and it won't be an easy post to read. But these things need to be said because we are exhausted in a way we never have been. We are struggling in a way that only teachers can struggle.
I've decided to keep this list to 5. There are more than 5. There will be a follow up post.
We are navigating uncharted waters and as soon as we think we've figured out one wave, we see the one behind it. There are always aspects of teaching like this, but right now, everything is like this.
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?
While I likely won't post a reflection every day, I want to try and post on days when noted things happen, or when I spend time working on a variety of issues, work-arounds, or creative projects. Today I am posting to discuss (again) the questions from this morning as well as nearly all of the things listed.
3. What are the requirements? Can I be me? There are requirements for our digital learning platform and I came in today knowing what most of those were and having already set them up. However, and I give full credit to my mom for this, I will also find ways to be me and be creative and fun. I certainly do not have time to discuss them all here, but I will link what I can and ensure that I post later on other topics. So far I've: set up my google classroom and included a Bitmoji GIF, used amazing resources created by my colleagues and administrators, starting working in my Bitmoji Classroom, and worked on creating a virtual meet the teacher and a virtual "all about the students".
I want to close with the answer I gave to my department head's question: If this year were a fruit or vegetable, what would it be and why. My answer? The English pea... Very few look at the English pea and think "yum" (yes, I'm one of them), but just about everyone likes the English pea or eats it at some point. You just have to be creative about what you put it in: fried rice, chicken pot pie, mac and cheese. Whatever it is, get creative, find the right context, and work it.
It's 5:30 AM and I am sitting in my home office with a cup of coffee. I am still in my pajamas, but all that is about to change. Today is the first official day back at school after we went into quarantine in March. Last night I meal prepped, packed my backpack (yes, as a teacher, you still need a good backpack/bag), and spent extra time snuggling all my fur babies. So, how am I feeling? What is in my plans today? Am I scared? Am I prepared?
We'll see how today goes, but here is what I'm hoping I have answers to by the end of the day/this week.
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.