The Corona Classroom…
As a teacher I will be so happy when words like social distancing, learning pods, face masks and, fever watching are no longer a part of my everyday worry. I am a First Grade teacher. I teach in a small private school. We are one of very few that went full time in person this fall. So far we have held fast to the guidelines put out by our state. We have met or exceeded these expectations to keep our students safe. Meeting these expectations has come at a cost.
My prep periods are spent cleaning. My lesson plans have changed. My students are set in neat little rows. Loneliness from not being able to interact with other teachers.
This teacher is TIRED!
So much has changed. My lesson plans can no longer include small groups or field trips. Groups of children that are close together. No more small group games, no more small group activities. No more…for now. Games and activities that enhance what is being taught. For children who long for movement and activity, this is hard not to use. In its place, I have introduced movement activities but they do not have an academic connection. It is just to move. Field trips are out. We need to keep the children at school and safe. No apple picking. Not going to play. There are no outside extras that enhance the academic process.
And how do I forget cleaning! My hands are raw from cleaning. Due to COVID restrictions, we are now being asked to eat in our classrooms. That means cleaning after morning snacks, lunches, and afternoon snacks at the end of the day. Then there is sanitizing twice a day. This is a spray we need to put on every surface and let it sit. That means hitting every light switch, faucet, desk, chair, and any other high traffic surface. Twice a day! If a bucket of toys is used, that bucket needs to be cleaned. Think of the number of items your child may touch during the day and multiply that by 16. Think about snacks and lunches. I can’t tell you how many juice pouches I open during the day or yogurt sleeves. Between each item, I need to wash my hands to prevent cross-contamination should this invisible virus make its way into my classroom.
To be honest, I have never been one of those quiet teachers. Rarely can you hear a pin drop in my classroom. Learning can not be done in silence. Children are learning to read. Part of that practice is sounding out letters. I have earphones to help keep the noise down but there will be noise. Children are counting fingers. Children are laughing. Children are being children. I used to have my desks in groups. Cooperative learning. Children can and will learn from each other. That is until now. Due to COVID, my desks are now in neat little rows. All facing forward. All distanced. I spend most of my day feeling like Atilla the Hun telling children to “turn around and face forward.’ “Stay in your own space.” “No, you can not share markers! ” It almost seems cruel to treat them like little soldiers instead of children.
I am lonely! Part of being a teacher is mixing it up with other teachers during prep periods, out at recess, in the lunchroom. Being able to bounce an idea off of another teacher is so valuable. Having another adult to talk to throughout the day is refreshing. That is gone. My classroom is its own little cluster. The only times we are outside of these 4 walls are for PE and for outside recess. I have made my classroom a bright happy space. I have large floor to ceiling windows. I made my theme for the year “science” to take away from the fear of Corona. I decided to embrace it and make it part of our daily routine. They have little lab coats for messy projects. We talk about science daily. Part of that narrative is the COVID situation. I have given the children the power to talk about it. With that said the same 4 walls day in and day out can be claustrophobic. I miss connecting with other adults. Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE MY JOB and I LOVE MY KIDS! It would just be nice to be able to have company as I open juice pouches and yogurt sleeves (cleaning my hands between each one). I miss the people I work with.
I have heard the term “it’s only for a season” said over and over again. I am not so sure about this. I think this pandemic has opened up pandora’s box. I am not sure we can ever go back to the way it was. I hope it does. I pray it does. For now, I feel like it is holding children hostage. Holding them from receiving a solid education. Holding them from being able to have a normal childhood.
As I look around my classroom I will do what needs to be done. I will clean. I will be creative in other ways. I will push myself past exhaustion to try and somehow give my students some sort of normalcy. Why? I am a teacher and this is what I was created to do.
My son is a teacher also and this has been hard on him too. He’s a football coach also and they change the restrictions on games and practices every week.
Being a coach adds a whole new level. Such an important role in a school. I pray he stays healthy and well.
I can only imagine what that is like! Having worked in day care, public, & private school classrooms I well know what they were like before all these protocols and I really applaud all these teachers working so hard to keep themselves and the kids safe. It seems like so much extra work and stress on all involved and I too hope and pray it is only for a season or so but fear it could be much more long term.
Thank you for sharing this! My boyfriend’s cousin is a teacher and it just amazes the lengths she goes to for her classroom, even now that she’s pretty much only teachiung over Zoom
my kids are distance learning and i kind of like it. my mom is a teacher in a hybrid classroom and it’s so hard and stressful!
I feel for you!! I have chosen to keep my kids virtual for now because I am home for the time being and that means three less children at school and a little easier for them at school. I wish things could get better for us all but we have to lean on each other!
My kids are on 100% virtual, but I can tell the difference in their motivation level online versus in person.I applaud the teachers and staff for all they have to endure to make this work for students and parents.
its so unfair that kids n teachers have to do all this crap i think they should be homeschooled and the teachers get paid vacation or work from home. the cleanng alone is hard im sure
Not everyone has the ability to homeschool. That is the real challenge. Teaching remote was a nightmare. There is no real answer.
Now we’re in the second lockdown I can’t understand why schools are staying open. I think, if we’re going to do this we need to do it properly. My Daughters boyfriends 13-year-old sister has just found out she’s been in class with someone that’s tested positive for Covid. I don’t think it’s worth risking the lives of the youngsters and the teachers.
I am in a fairly solid school with parents who are present and support their child’s education. I know many of my fellow teachers far and wide have the demand to be open for childcare. It is a tough situation. There is no real answer.
I can’t imagine being a teacher during this time. My grandsons are so confused. One day they are in school then the next it’s remote . Right now the teachers are the heroes as any other front line/ essential worker. Thank you for keeping the kids safe.
My whole family works in education. I do not envy everything they have had to endure. I just wish we had had better leadership during this pandemic that would have effectively led our country to keep the virus under control like so many other countries have done.
My heart goes out to all teachers……
Real “Front Line” workers..
you are teaching our future generations how to maybe avoid things like this
My grandchildren are doing virtual learning and I think it is better for both of them. I do, however, feel that it depends on the child, and that some of them need the structure of the school environment.
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