I spent the first three days of this week in my classroom, doing training and preparing for hybrid students in a few weeks. It was quite a bizarre experience.
I think I have to say a little bit about my pandemic world here. I have asthma, and I am also the person in my family who will catch any little germ that passes by (after all, I managed to get pneumonia with no contact with the outside world). We agreed early on that my husband, who needs to go out to meet clients, would be the one to do all the shopping to keep the bulk of the risk to one person. (Actually, he just announced that I should not leave the house, but he had a good point, so I agreed.)
I haven’t been in a grocery store since March 2020.
We have not traveled.
We have not taken day trips.
We have not gone shopping in any stores other than the grocery store.
We have stayed very strict about the quarantine measures and have stayed home.
I have waved to neighbors from a safe distance.
Walking even around my neighborhood has been difficult with a mask on, so I have not done that nearly as often as I should.
For much of the year, I have not left my house or yard for weeks at a time, sometimes with more than a month passing between experiences with actual reality.
You get the idea. There was a great deal of weirdness in actually going back to work. Here are my reflections.
- I am an introvert. I like meetings where a staff meeting requires spreading out across the entire cafeteria and the adjacent gym and no one is near me. Woohoo! No small talk!
- I miss my cats. I caught myself reaching down to pet empty air more than once today.
- Even without students in the building, schools can be pretty noisy, but I actually felt pretty lonely without being surrounded by my son and husband in our small house.
- Commuting alone is actually very nice. Audiobook time! Only, there is this thing called “rush hour” that I had forgotten about.
- Okay, I’ll admit it. I totally miss prep time with my feet up and a cat or two on my lap. Sitting on a wobbly school chair at a teacher desk is nowhere near as comfortable!
- I cannot drink tea through my mask! I’ll perish from lack of caffeine!
- I should accessorize, but one of my earring holes is mostly closed up. Ouch.
- I have to wear nice clothes BELOW the waist too???
- Shoes? Every day? What? My feet are in shock.
Hybrid school starts in three weeks! I had better learn to keep track of my shoes and see what parts of my work wardrobe still fit.