Don’t get me wrong, pandemic teaching is rough, an understatement, but my teacher life got a gazillion times easier last week.
My school had its fifth first day of school last week. What a weird thing to type, but it’s 2020. Here are the five first days we’ve had:
- The first day for Group One students.
- The first day for Group Two students.
- The first day teaching in-person and at-home learners.
- The first day with both Groups One and Two on campus.
- The first day for previously at-home learners.
At the first nine weeks’ end, our Home Based Virtual Learners (HBVLs) had the option to come back to physical school, and so many did. And while it’s fantastic to finally meet them IRL–cue me squealing in excitement through my mask while taking a HBVL’s temperature last Wednesday Jayda!!!!! It’s so nice to meet you in real life! Look at you!–It. Was. So. Strange.
I’d just been teaching heads and necks, sometimes just eyebrows and foreheads, and instead of floating heads eerily levitating through the hallways on Wednesday morning like a Disney Channel show’s terrible Halloween episode, those heads were connected to BODIES. Some of my HBVL boys are GIANT, and it completely caught me off guard.
And something that didn’t catch me off guard–the freedom afforded by being unchained to my computer screen for four blocks. Because with more HBVLs on campus, administration gave us the go-ahead to create a virtual school schedule, so I only teach virtually during third block now.
I can stand up if I want. I can move around more, even though I’m still keeping my distance. I don’t have to constantly monitor the Google Meet chat, my email, and Impero (our student technology monitoring software) every single class. I don’t have to shut down a Meet at the end of every class and start a new one while trying to make sure the in-person students are social distancing, know what’s due the following day, and are walking into the hallway on time. There’s more normalcy, but I know it’s possibly short-lived with fall’s onset and increasing numbers of COVID-19 throughout the country.
And while those students returning to school has made teaching a gazillion times easier, other aspects of more students on campus are troublesome:
- More students means less space for social distancing in the hallways and in the classrooms.
- More students aren’t wearing their masks properly.
- More students are sharing supplies and food when they aren’t supposed to.
- More students are sitting in cramped classrooms without their masks on eating lunch.
- More students means going through more sanitizing wipes, and who knows if and when we will run out.
- More students means more are showing up to school sick even though they should stay home.
- More students is harder to manage than fewer students.
- More students makes it appear like the coronavirus is disappearing when it’s not.
And like I said, I’m ecstatic more students are back and actual teaching is easier, but we can’t forget that this isn’t over yet. Please do your part to help keep all students, teachers, and everyone else safe.
There’s only so much teachers can do.