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What a Year!

I had good intentions this year to be more active in writing. However, as it does, life gets in the way. This year was riddled with personal and professional challenges.

I lost my father this year to pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed in early November after complaining of stomach issues for over a month and we lost him two days after Thanksgiving. It all happened so quickly, I was unable to process the diagnosis before we lost him. I am still processing.

Professionally, I had the biggest challenge with my current group of 9th graders. One class, challenged and pushed me to brink with their behavior issues. Behavior issues that all teachers were seeing. It was a mob mentality of which I had never encountered before. There was a point, I didn't even want to come in to teach because I didn't have it in me to be strong. I've had other teachers say "Wow, I can't believe they put all those kids together in the same class.". Yeah, that's not very helpful, thank you.

In early March we had the fears and anxiety of COVID-19 and going to distance learning. Fears which manifested on March 15, 2020, when we got the word from Governor Sununu that all schools would be moving to remote learning effective immediately. We were given 1 week to prepare. On Thursday, March 19, 2020, we went live with 100% remote instruction. Let me tell you it has been a challenge and a half. I envy those teachers who teach multiple sections of the same class right now. I have five preps to create engaging digital content for! Though, as a school who was already using Google Classroom, our transition was slightly smoother than those schools who were not utilizing an online platform.

While I am loving the creativity of creating engaging lessons and tying together my Technology Integrator and Earth and Space certifications. I am exhausted. Physically and mentally. I am trying to develop a work-life balance being home all the time, but feel conflicted anytime I leave my computer to run a load of laundry, make some cloth masks, make lunch for my husband and I or go for a walk after the school day. I find myself spending hours upon hours outside of the normal school day grading, contacting students, recording lab demonstrations in my kitchen and developing activities. I spend most of my weekend putting together lessons for the following week so that I can focus my time on meeting with my classes on Google Meet, checking in with struggling students and grading ALL the work. I know I could just post already created activities and worksheets, but that's just not me. Anytime I do that I feel so guilty even though I know I need the mental break. I am thankful that I can be the teacher I am right now from afar and that I just have my husband and I to worry about. I do not know how other teachers are handling having a passel of kids at home who they have to monitor for their school work and entertain, as well as the students in their classes.

As our school year winds down (three weeks to go!). We are starting to look at what next year will look like. How can we maintain social distancing in our small classrooms. How can we teach with masks on. How do you keep the students wearing masks and how can we monitor health without a full time nurse on site. There are so many variables and I fear my summer will be much as my spring has been. Sitting on my computer digitizing my first units for the potential of remote instruction in the fall.


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