Posts

r.e.s.t.

Image
I feel like hibernating for a year. Seriously, this year has wiped me out and the past few months have been the most challenging. Students have lost motivation and teachers, myself included, are wearing down. My school has been doing a concurrent hybrid model where we teach both in-person and remote students at the same time. Until you've done this, you have no idea the amount of energy it drains you of. During a normal year, I'm tired at this point of the year, but the exhaustion I feel from trying to get students to respond to me is too much most days and we have a little more than a week left. The mental and physical toll this year has taken on me is one for the books. I struggle with knowing if I'm being clear with my students or if they are learning at home because I don't hear from most of my students online during a class period. Because I'm staring at a screen, my eyes are strained causing frequent headaches despite wearing blue light glasses. My body is sor

Lessons I've Learned While Teaching During a Pandemic

Image
It's been almost a year since we've experienced school in a normal fashion. It's crazy to think that teachers have been doing this for a year. A year of reinventing the wheel, a year of learning new technology, a year of teaching like we've never taught before. In that year, I've learned a lot about students, parents and how our society views the educational system. These lessons that I've learned may look different for some teachers, but I can assure you that there is some overlap. I've spent a lot of time talking to teachers in different parts of the country, so I know that there are things that we are all seeing. Lesson #1: Teachers are heroes until they're not. Last spring, the world turned upside down. (Go ahead and hum that Hamilton  lyric...you know you want to.) Teachers were given the highest level of praise with going above and beyond to reach out to students and their families. In my district, we were supposed to provide enrichment activities

Tapped Out

Image
  When I started this blog in the fall, I really wanted it to be a place where I could process my feelings and thoughts about teaching during this very unusual year. I've found solace in knowing that there are other educators who are in the same place that I am. I come back after over a month of not blogging to say that I'm tapped out. I feel that every time I feel like I've got a handle on the situation that we are in, another email comes that says, "Well, we've got this coming at you in a few weeks." There are no details about what's to come, but that it's coming. As an overt planner and worrier, my mind instantly goes to thinking about what that "new" thing will look like and how will I handle it.  I want to stop hearing about what's to come and start hearing about here's our next plan of action.  I've never dealt with change well, and having changes throw at me every few weeks hasn't been the best of circumstance for me. I

Take a Break

Image
The words of the Hamilton  song, "Take a Break", are forever running through my head the moment I get home from school.   The week before Thanksgiving break, we were back to 100% remote, which is what we had been for the first 10 weeks of school.  I felt like I had everything under control and that I could handle what this year was throwing at me. My body, on the other hand, had a different opinion. I had never felt anxiety like that before in my life. For a solid week, I constantly had a pit in my stomach that I couldn't seem to get rid of no matter how much I worked ahead. I couldn't sleep...maximum 5 hours a night. For those that know me, I cannot function on less than 7 hours of sleep.  On about night 4 of little to no sleep, I made the decision to take my work email off of my phone and to delete the app altogether as of 3 p.m. Friday, the last day of school before break.  Following Meredith White's (@PRHSspanish) advice, I created a "To Don't" l

The Quiet

Image
In a normal year, I relish the brief quiet moments in my day that allow me to really take it all in. I get a chance to evaluate my teaching and adjust as needed. I get a chance to think, “Wow! I get to do this every day!” I feel a sort of calm that allows me to appreciate the opportunity that I get to teach students in a subject that I’m super passionate about.  Nowadays, I despise the quiet. It makes me think, “What else can I do?” or “Are they even learning?” or, my personal favorite, “Are they here with me?”.   Yesterday, I hit a brick wall and I broke down. It was half way through my day. I had just finished reading through a  cultural lesson about bullfighters. I asked a question using all of my strategies that my other class was able to answer. I received no response. Not a verbal response and not even a response in the chat. No one had their cameras on, and I felt entirely alone.  While I think it’s important to talk about the mental health of our students, I think it’s also imp

Do Not Disturb

Image
I finally did it. I turned off my email notifications from the hours of 5 pm - 8 pm on weeknights and all weekend. I've never been one to put up good boundaries when it comes to separating my personal and school obligations, but I knew that I needed to do it.  I also didn't work on schoolwork at all this past weekend! That is a HUGE accomplishment for me.  Last week was another rough week of even less participation and more failing grades. I was frustrated with my students and just this whole situation we are in right now.  Everyone is!  I explained to all of my classes all of the things that I'm doing to help them succeed but feel that they are not doing their part. Time will tell if that makes any change in some of their work habits.  I've also been working on finding other ways to find my joy again through this weird year. I've got a game plan of the reading extension activities that I want to put together for teachers working with thematic units! I'm really

Toxic Positivity

Image
This week has not been going well. I'm trying to ways to keep kids engaged, but they are weary. I am weary. And there's no better way to say this, but I do NOT like teaching this way. Despise might be a better word in this instance.  I don't want to hear the "You can do this!", "We're in this together!",  and the ever so popular, "We've got this!". Stop already. I know  that I can do this, horribly, but I can pull it together. What I want to hear is validation in my feelings. There is nothing positive about teaching to students who don't answer you, don't have their cameras on, and you know nothing about them. There is no way to prevent cheating, so I've stopped trying. I'll be able to tell if I give them something in person, and they can't do it.  It's difficult to teach to a group who is here in the room, but also a group that's at home.  There is nothing positive about teaching in a pandemic. Period. I try