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Take a Break

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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

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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

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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

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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

Time to change...again.

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Well, it came. The moment when some kids came back into the classroom. I wasn't worried about the teaching so much as I was worried about the procedural aspect of how to maneuver everything. At my school, students come to the classroom with their devices, and we are continuing to teach through our online platforms. I'm very thankful for that because I have about 75% of my students that are still remote.  Right now, we have a set of two attendance groups, which is dependent on last name.  They attend two days a week, either Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday, with Wednesdays as completely asynchronous still.   That post I wrote about being exhausted? Still holds true. Maybe even more so. I love having students in front of me, and I'm finally getting to talk to them in person and learn a little more about their personality. But DANG. It's tiring to have to maneuver the two monitors, 2904 tabs and remembering all of the PPE and cleaning procedures... it's a lot. This we

No tired like teacher tired.

You know that moment when you get home after a long day, and you finally get the chance to sit down and breathe? That's how I feel every day...at 3:30.  I've seen something floating around social media about how a teacher makes more decisions in a day than a surgeon. I don't know if there's any truth to that, but it definitely. feels that way. There've been a lot of studies on a new phenomenon called "Zoom Fatigue", and let me tell you that everything about it is true. Being online all day is exhausting.  However, I wouldn't have it any other way because I know that the alternative is even more challenging. (I'm looking at you, hybrid model.)  I get a report every week on nearly every device about my usage for the week, and every Sunday without fail, there's an increase in the amount of time I've spent on my phone and my laptop.  Many of you might not know this, but my phone is primarily used as a work tool. I'm in so many groups and ha

Feeling like a Failure

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Ok, so maybe I'm being a little hard on myself and a little dramatic. It's something that I do, but DANG. I feel this way today. I have been exhausted lately, and today, I hit a wall.  Being on a computer all day and all evening is tough. Teaching online is tough. Not having students communicate with you is tough. Repeating myself in class and in emails is tough.   I've tried being really positive about how things are going, but in all reality, this is not what I signed up for. This is not something I ever envisioned for myself, and I know that every teacher feels the same way. Sometimes I think it's ok to just say that this sucks and see this situation for what it truly is. I'm trying to make the best of it, but today was hard. My school has been remote learning for 4 weeks. A whole month has gone by, and I feel like I still don't know my students. I've tried personal surveys and life maps, but there's just not that fun joking around that you would get