It appears the last time I blogged it was October 24, 2020! Why I chose Groundhog Day to finally catch-up is unknown…..
It is hard to believe that it is almost, but not quite yet, a full year since school closed ‘temporarily’ out of an abundance of caution due to Covid. Little did we know it would last much longer than the temporary 3 weeks. The 2019-2020 school year ended with us teaching long distance. Anyone that thinks that children can sit for hours on end in front of a computer, have no peer interaction, and many without a dedicated instructional environment, do not understand what happens at school. Learning to ‘swim’ virtually is not the same as learning to ‘swim’.
All summer long it was a continuous to and fro about in school, partially in school, or fully remote learning for 2020-2021. We started off remotely and on top of that, the District also changed all of our instructional technology. This left not only teachers struggling but also students and parents. The parents, worried about the loss of school last spring, really felt the pressure in the fall. With no end in site for school to return to ‘normal’, they are tying to keep jobs, balance child care/safety, and manage keeping their children connected to school. A great many have maxed out their bandwidth making it almost impossible to keep children connected, while they also are attempting to work from home.
This generation of children will feel the impact of their loss for the rest of their lives. What is worse, a large majority of children need and rely heavily on the school system for support. This includes meals, social/emotional, in addition to academics. They will lose the most.
Covid also impacted teachers, like myself, and for some of us distance teaching is also not a viable solution. Most teachers give well beyond 150% of themselves every single day. We connect multiple times daily with every child, ensure instruction is unique for every child, and make personal emotional connections with every child. When a parent is angry, it does become personal. We really do care. It feels like an outsider telling us we don’t understand or care about ‘our’ own child.
When on Campus, leaving at the end of the day, provides a way for us to leave the stress at campus. My home is my safe, sacred, space. Virtual learning and meetings removed the barrier between work and home. Inviting others into my home removed all that kept my worlds separate and balanced. A deeply private person, it invaded the sanctity of my home and personal life. People have a bad habit of forgetting to be humane – in thoughts and words – I am not a callus person and am hurt deeply by others thoughts, words. Nothing is said to me that can just roll-off because I do care. Just because a person might be stressed doesn’t mean it is okay to take it out on me.
This lead me to make a very difficult decision. As a two time cancer survivor, without a spleen, and over 60, I am unable to work on Campus. What I didn’t expect, is that I would be so completely overwhelmed teaching from home. Panic attacks have a way of making us face situations that just are not working. I am on leave and still am very unsure what will happen.
For every door that closes a new one opens…..just not quite sure what is on the other side. In the meantime, I have been busy catching up on my personal life which has been a blessing.