Teaching in the COVID Era

This pandemic has been difficult for everyone. We’ve all had to adapt in one way or another. This is especially true in education. Safety protocols have turned everything upside down. For example, students in middle school were forbidden to carry backpacks during the day, because a backpack’s weight could hurt their posture. Now they have to carry backpacks because the lockers can’t be used due to social-distancing requirements. Power strips used to be banned as fire hazards; now every classroom needs at least one. And so it goes.

All this has been summarized in “50 Tweets That Sum Up Being A Teacher This Past Year” by Caroline Bologna on the Huffpost website (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tweets-teacher-pandemic_l_609079e8e4b09cce6c21d9c6). These strike a chord through my experiences as a substitute teacher this year, so I’m quoting my favorites. They are from both teachers and parents.

Me: good morning everyone! How are you? Yes, Maddy, your hand is raised, what’s up? … Maddy? Maddy you’re muted Ok we still can’t hear you; I think your headphones are on backwards.

Maddy: —hear me now?

Me: yes, what did you want to say?

Maddy: I forgot.

During teaching today I was petting my cat and my co-teacher announced it and asked to see the cat. Then no fewer than 60% of the students reached down and pulled THEIR cats up into view of the cameras and suddenly my Zoom squares were all cats and everything was perfect.

I asked my students today what keeps them motivated. One of them said “spite.”

Hybrid schedule isn’t really so bad, as a teacher. It’s just that I never remember what “color” day it is, I don’t know anyone’s name, I forget who I told what, and this week was about two months long. Other than that, it’s fiiiiiiiiine.

Teaching hybrid is a great way to remind yourself that things can always be worse than you ever imagined.

Don’t encourage your students to get a gift card you’d appreciate for Teacher Appreciation Week. I doubt they could even get into the liquor store.

I accused my students of muting themselves during class today because I didn’t hear laughter after I made a killer joke. That’s when a kid reminded me we’re back in the classroom and I’m actually teaching them in person.

A student returned to in-person learning today. I said, “Hi, nice to finally meet you in real life!” They did not say “Hi.” Instead they just said, “I thought you were fat. You look fat on Zoom.” Why are teenagers like this?

Administrator: How have you grown this year?

Me: Well, I went up a size in my pants.

Administrator: No….

For Teacher Appreciation Week this year can y’all just leave us alone?

Fortunately, there’s only three weeks of school left. I think I’m going to make it.

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