Pandemic Teaching (again)

Our first day of school picture

We are two weeks into our new school year. The boys are in person this year as they are vaccinated. They also ride the city bus to and from school, a new experience they have already mastered. I am so proud of them for being flexible and brave.

I am teaching, in person as well, still wearing a mask. My school district, deciding to follow CDC guidelines and science backed research, went against our state’s no mask mandate for schools. It looks good from the outside, but there is an “anyone can opt out” form that does not require a reason, just a signature. 20% of my class is unmasked. There have been 31 confirmed COVID cases on campuses throughout my district so far, nine days in. There are five at my school, compared to not a one for all of last year. (Last year, we had a population which were on campus all year, as well as in person learning for over a quarter – fully masked.) These are positive COVID cases of children, unable to get the vaccine. I feel it is just a matter of time that I will have students quarantining or we end up back online. I have already prepped my students so they know how to access our Google Classroom and open assignments. It makes me sad. And it makes me tired.

I am simply focusing on what I can do. I mask. We wash our hands or use hand sanitizer every time we enter the our classroom. I have adjusted my seating chart to optimize safety.

First day of school picture in my classroom.

And then I teach on. My class is already mine in my heart. I adore them all, even the ones who struggle (struggle to not blurt out, struggle to focus, struggle to keep their bodies to themselves, struggle to be respectful, struggle to socialize, so much struggling) . Perhaps I adore those kiddos even a little bit more because they need it.

The six guiding questions students answer that help us create our Essential Agreements for the year.

Last year, in order to keep going and stay somewhat sane, my mantra was “Next school year will be better.” But I am not sure that is going to be the case.

I stumbled upon this quote last week that I think will be my new mantra for this school year:

“It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.” Lena Horne.

I know nothing about Lena Horne, but those words stopped me in my tracks and made me really think. I need to readjust my load so that it is evenly distributed and does not leave me hunched over, looking down and not forward.

About Shoes

I am an elementary school teacher, a former microbiologist, a mom to a herd of two boys, and a grilled cheese sandwich and beer connoisseur.
This entry was posted in Being a Teacher, Little Feet, The Virus and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Pandemic Teaching (again)

  1. Rivergirl says:

    I simply can not understand the objection to keeping unvaccinated children safe. We’ll never stop the spread and mutations of this virus as long as politics trumps public safety.

  2. Gosh. It is a tough tough thing. I remember us having this conversation last year, as my husband is also a teacher. School starts for them Tuesday, and two of my children will be attending for the first time. It makes me worry. It makes me wish I had waited another year, if that had been possible, to send them. But your quote at the end is superb indeed. And your take on it–even better. Thank you for sharing that. 🙂 Stay strong, Shoes! 🙂

    • Shoes says:

      I am so very glad that Cody and Carter could be vaccinated. We feel much more at ease with them attending school having that protection.
      Thank you. It is easy for me to put a lot of energy and worry into things I truly have no ability to do much about. If I take that energy and use it in small, corrective, helpful ways I think that overall it will be so much better. Easier said than done, but I have recognized it and am reminding myself of it as I move forward.

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