Corona Virus Quarantine Day #200: Teaching during a Pandemic: October 7, 2020:
This has certainly been a strange year so far. I experienced another first of teaching in a pandemic today so I thought I’d catalogue for history’s sake.
Today we had parent teacher conferences via zoom. That was a new one for me. I have to say, I didn’t hate it. I feel like the awkwardness of seeing each other on a computer screen made the weirdness of PT conferences dissipate, which was cool. The conferences were short and sweet, as they should be, and I got to see their faces, if we met in person that would not have been an option.
I have to tell you, I had more parents log on to say thank you than to actually talk about their kids. They were all very grateful to us teachers for doing the work so their kids could be in the building. One parent even asked me if I needed anything they could provide. What?
Truthfully I was taken aback by that question, because I believed it was a serious question. I simply replied, prayers, please just pray for us and the students. We all need a lot of prayers.
It was such a pleasant conversation and it was so nice to meet with parents who really appreciate what we are doing during this time.
Teaching in pandemic isn’t easy. There are a lot of changes, aside from the quirkiness of the actual schedule. Teaching in masks brings on new challenges. For those of us that don’t have great hearing, like myself, it’s hard to tell who is even talking if you don’t call on them directly and even then, you aren’t sure. Not being able to see the student’s faces is difficult. I can’t see their smiles, which I hate and I feel like I can’t learn their personality as well as I’d like to because of the masks.
Then there are the students who are exposed to Covid who have to learn from home, or those learning remotely who zoom into your live class everyday. So you have students in the seats and some at home trying to see what you are doing on their computer screen. That was certainly a challenge I didn’t expect and truthfully one I don’t feel like I’ve mastered.
There is constant sanitizing, seating charts have taken a whole new meaning this year and then there is what we have to do to keep the kids 6 feet apart.
The schedule is constantly changing to accommodate all the things schools have going on during a school year and we are all struggling with not having a normal school day (the kids and teachers alike).
We can’t “teach” like we did in previous years. I see my classes in person 2x a week. Since we started school I have seen them a total of 9 times. That’s not near as many times as I would have seen them at this point in a normal school year. As a result, things like tests, have become a take home enterprise. I can’t see wasting valuable time taking a test in the short time I have in front of them. I’d much rather be engaging with them, talking with them and actually teaching them during our actual class time.
I’ve had to eliminate two whole units of study and even then, I’m not sure I will get through all I have planned…but I’m hopeful. At the end of the day I think what we are learning is that none of that stuff really matters. If they get one extra unit of study or not is not the most important thing. The parents confirmed what we have known all along, these kids needs to be in school. They need to be with their peers and people who are trained to manage the many different needs of your average student these days. For me…the bottom line is these kids needs to be loved, they need to have some normal and they need to learn something. I think St. James is doing a really good job of this and I’m grateful to work somewhere that is doing what is necessary to give these kids in person school.
These are just snippets of what it is like teaching during a pandemic. I’m not complaining, just documenting, because I promise you in 10 years we will remember it being crazy, but the details will be a total blur.
From a mom’s perspective, and I have young kids, I hate that my kids are in a mask all day. I love that they are in school. I hate that they can’t have gatherings with their buddies without worrying about judgment from others or worse, that they might get the virus itself. I love that they get to go to school and see their friends there. I’m struggling to balance their school work and letting them just come home and be normal, mask free kids.
Parenting during a pandemic is hard. For parents of teenagers who probably need social interaction as much or more than little kids that balance has to be excruciating.
No one knows exactly what is right or wrong. We are all just doing the best we can. I hope.
So, today, while a tad bizarre, turned out to be pretty nice. I talked to some great parents who showed their appreciation for us teachers and it felt good to talk to positive people who are grateful for the work you do. That simply doesn’t happen everyday. So a huge, heartfelt thank you to the parents who took the time to talk to me via zoom. I really enjoyed my time with you.