“I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to cry.” That was the refrain running through my head as I walked out of school Friday to drive home. To be clear, I’ve never once in 25 years of teaching cried at work, at least not with regards to my position and responsibilities. But, damn you Covid and an incompetent government, I just might need to start stockpiling tissues before the market dries up again.
Let me begin with the fact that my district, and every district I can imagine, is doing the best they can with less than enough. Their task is Herculean. How can they all possibly succeed with an unfair share of resources? Does anyone really think it’s realistic to expect school districts to do even more than previously expected with 20% less? The way we fund schools is criminal.
Listen, I’m a hard worker. While my follow through isn’t always 100%, I’m confident that I’m both creative and pragmatic. I get stuff done. But, when your library has temporarily become an instructional space and lunch room for 95 students and your entire nonfiction collection, along with random parts of your fiction collection, has been boxed up in a less than ideal fashion, it’s daunting. Add in a new academic assignment of instructing 18 classes a week, which, of course, will occur all over the building in classrooms where I’ll be using a keyboard and mouse and ViewSonic screen which other teachers are also using which means it’ll all require disinfecting…well, it gets complicated.
During virtual “Meet” times with my students, I’ll also be instructing students physically in front of me simultaneously. Some of my students will require accommodations to meet their needs, be they be emotional, academic or social. To teach in this hybrid model, each time I arrive in “my” classroom, I’ll need to log in to my personal device, (which I’ll be using primarily for the camera), and also sign in to the ViewSonic, which will function as the audio component of my presentation. Like I said earlier, I’ll do this 18 times a week while also attempting to assist other teachers (and students) with their research and reading assignments along with implementing a process for circulating materials to nearly 1,000 students. It’s a formidable task.
I’m excited for the chance to work with every single 6th grader in my district. I love 6th graders! They possess a wonderful combination of innocence and curiosity that I find sweetly endearing. Because of this unprecedented situation, I now will have the chance to make a connection between kids and books and critical thinking skills and media bias and research. It’s an incredible gift, one I find to be inspiring and stimulating.
Unlike the federal government in this crisis, I won’t wallow in my incompetence. As I regularly tell my students, no one is expected to know everything. I’ll learn this new way to deliver instruction. I’ll figure out the technology and timing. I’ll find my way from classroom to classroom, from floor to floor – starting today.