I was looking at the last date I wrote a blog post, and it was right before the pandemic hit. So much has happened since March 3rd of last year! Why have I waited so long? Well, I’ll tell you, it’s been HARD. Finishing out last school year was difficult, but I didn’t know what I know now- that everything was going to change.
I finished out last year by turning my literature circles unit into an independent novel study. This was done totally on the fly, as I’m sure many of our plans were last spring. When I look back at that time, I can’t even remember what I did day to day because it’s all a blur. I just know I was flying by the seat of my pants, trying to learn Google Classroom while I used it, and wondering when I was going to find some toilet paper at the store.
Fast forward to this year. We started out the year all remote. The teachers were at the school, but the students were still at home. We brought them back by grade level- First the 6th graders, then the next week the 7th graders were added, followed by the 8th graders the next week. Right before the 8th graders came back, my husband got COVID, so I was quarantined for 10 work days. Luckily I got to come back the day before my kiddos returned.
Once the students came back, we were teaching in-person and remote kids at the same time. It continues that way to this day, and will probably be that way for the rest of the year. The directive from our administration was to do the same things with the in-person kids that we gave to the remote students. That means that I put stuff on Google Classroom, and when my kids come to class, they get on the computer and do the lessons just like the remote kids would. I Zoom every other day, but since I video all my lessons, the Zooms are just for going over the agenda and to answer any questions the kids may have. Most of the time 2-4 remote students show up on the Zoom. Sometimes no one does. Meanwhile, it’s completely silent in my room because my kids are working independently on lessons I have provided.
I feel like a computer lab manager. I don’t feel like a teacher anymore. I know I’m the one that has to come up with the curriculum for the students to do, and I’m doing that. I feel like they are learning most of the skills they will need to move on to high school, but I don’t get to see the “ah ha!” moments anymore. I don’t get to put them in groups and watch them work out an activity. No stations. No games. No creativity. Ugh. It gets harder every day.
The kids miss their friends. They are forgetting how to talk to each other. I don’t know them very well yet, and I’m a relationship kind of gal. It’s been hard, but I have a great school with a great team and admin, so that helps. I’m just ready to be able to do some of my favorite lessons again. I’m ready to have to get on to kids for talking. I’m ready to give paper and pencil assignments, show videos, and do walk-arounds.
I just miss being a teacher.