2020 has slapped us all in the face (maybe a little too hard). Just when we think things can’t get any worse / weirder, it does. I will honestly admit, when we were notified that school would be closing for a month in March, I thought that was crazy. Little did I know what was about to happen. Covid-19 was so far off my radar, I was totally blindsided by this whole situation. Now, we’re coming up on the end of July and returning to school still feels uncertain. I have no idea how to process what’s happening. I have no idea how to plan. I have no idea what to do. The only thing I do know is that as a teacher, I have a lot of feelings about what’s going on.
In the spring, teachers were still working. Some thrived in the work form home scenario while others struggled. I can only imagine our students felt exactly the same way! Schools are something we always expect to be there and open, welcoming our children with open arms … until they can’t. When they closed our doors and expected us to teach and learn from home, they stole a little bit of the joy that comes along with school. While I’m all for our health and safety as top priority, it’s okay for all of us to admit how disheartening this whole experience has been. I can speak for myself as a local teacher when I say that we were (generally) grossly underprepared to take this on. I can assure you that we did our best. And parents, we know you did yours too. Same for the students. We were all just chugging along, trying to navigate and hoping it would turn out okay.
Where do we go from here?
It’s coming up on the end of summer. The start of the school year is still up in the air. I’m expected to return to school (in whatever capacity that may be) prepared to teach my 3 preps to middle schoolers with little to no direction in what my day-to-day experience will look like in the classroom (or from my home office). I can’t help but FREAK OUT. There are too many questions … too many unknowns.
First of all, CHILDCARE.
My son attends a daycare that’s part of a private school. His daycare has been closed since March due to the school closures. So far, we are all hopeful for a return in mid-August like always, but who’s to say that can’t or won’t change?
Virtual – Hybrid – A new normal?
Next, there’s the whole concept of what I’m expected to do as a teacher. Will I be teaching virtually? Will I be teaching in a hybrid capacity? If I’m teaching virtually and there’s no daycare, how will I be able to teach live classes like a normal school day? What if I’m expected to return to campus even if I’m teaching virtually and there’s no childcare?
On the other hand, we have the possibility of a return to school with business as usual (at least partially). This idea makes me sick. I am so not ready and extremely uncomfortable. My husband is an essential worker and I have watched him go to work every single day these last few months anguishing over whether or not he could possibly bring this disease into our home. We have really toed the line, living very cautiously in hopes to not spread this disease or contract it as best we can. What happens if I contract Covid-19 at school? What happens if one of my students contracts it? Or another co-worker? The number of days required for one quarantine would exhaust my year’s worth of sick leave.
Is school as we knew it over?
Will virtual or hybrid learning become part of the new normal? Can we expect to see this infiltrate the upper grades in years to come? I never expected this as a teacher and I wish I had more insight to give to parents who I keep in touch with. I can only hope that my superiors feel the same and wish they could give me (us, the teachers) more answers.
I have no idea what’s about to happen in the coming weeks. I have no idea how to prepare for this school year. I have no idea how to be great at my job right now. All I do know is that this was definitely not part of the plan and I’m trying my best to roll with the punches.