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Sunday, September 27, 2020

The ABC's of Hybrid Teaching

We are three weeks into a hybrid teaching model and oh my goodness I am exhausted.   You might have noticed I have been MIA from the blog since I went back to work but today I was just processing all the things and this blog post is the result of that.  I still have a lot to share about differentiating instruction, math menus, meeting kids where they are and teaching online but right now I am in survival mode!  Without further ado, here are the ABC's of hybrid teaching! 

  • Acne: wearing a mask all day led me to having the skin of a middle schooler. I now have a skin care routine like a proper middle aged lady.(thanks Grove for delivering Burt's bees to my door!)
  • Breath mints: mask wearing leads to being hyper aware of your own breath smells. Everyone now keeps mints in their desks/backpacks
  • Confusing: Our kids come in 2 cohorts and keeping track of what I have done or said with each group is still a challenge I am working on conquering.
  • Dry: Extra hand washing and sanitizing leads to sandpaper hands for kids and teachers! Rooms without a sink are especially prone.
  • Extraordinary: in a short amount of time my colleagues have relearned everything they thought they knew about teaching and a providing quality instruction in new and interesting ways. 
  • Frustrating: just when we think we have it figured out, the guidance changes, the structure changes or our own children's school changes plans leading us to scramble for childcare.
  • Gawky: like an awkward middle school student my new roles and responsibilities feel a bit unnatural.
  • Hot: wearing a mask/face shield/goggles all day then the weather feels like summer is no joke.
  • Illogical: there are some regulations and requirements that make no sense. Neighboring school districts have different plans that lead to childcare nightmares for teacher parents.
  • Jaded: the rapid pace that things change and time wasted planning things that never come to fruition has added 10 years of jadedness in 6 short weeks. I'm afraid of becoming the "I used to walk uphill to school both ways" person!
  • Kaput: how I feel by 2 pm every single day.
  • Lonely: it's great to be back seeing some faces but I miss seeing all the faces and all the hugs and community building activities we used to be able to partake in. Kids who are not in the same cohort never get to hang out together and I get limited contact with other teachers.
  • Masks: we have to wear a mask in the building at all times unless we are alone in a room. We are never alone in a room. 
  • Nauseating: we are cleaning more frequently with stronger smelling chemicals while breathing in our exhaled air it's a combination that leaves me feeling nauseous at least a few hours each day. 
  • Obliging; teachers, kids and families have worked together to create the best of the situation we are in. 
  • Passwords: I spend an embarrassing amount of time resetting passwords and emailing parents and students with their passwords. Passwords might be my least favorite word in the English language right now.
  • Quiet: less kids, more spread out and no one really in the hallways along with a ban on singing indoors has led to an almost unnatural quiet in the building. 
  • Rewarding: when all is said and done setting those smiling faces eyes folks my heart with joy.
  • Stumps: we have taken teaching outside on stump circles that our amazing PTA volunteers delivered to school.
  • Tenacious: teachers and kids have really demonstrated this quality during this challenging time.
  • Unique: we are living history right now and we have to remember that this isn't forever.
  • Valiant: I have always said teachers can do anything and the obstacles my colleagues have conquered this year demonstrate this very well.
  • Wild
  • X-hausting: I'm kind of glad my car ride is a little longer this year. I am so mentally and physically exhausted at the end of each day I rely on the drive home for partial recovery.
  • Year-long: We might not be in hybrid forever, we might be fully remote, in person or in a different version of hybrid but we know for sure that this school year is going to be anything but normal!
  • Zoom: We spend Wednesday mornings on Zoom with kids while no students are in the building. We spend Wednesday afternoons on Zoom with other people in our building. Our students who are not at school send us Google Hangout messages or try to do video calls while we are in school with their classmates. It's a wild world and Zoom is part of our lives for now.
For all my fellow teachers who are living this nightmare reality right now, I'm with you.  I see you, I know how hard you are working, I know we will make it to the other side.  I know someday we can tell new teachers our stories and I know we will come out in the end better than ever. 

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