What do we do now?

How many of those out walking this afternoon are masked? (1/4)

Will people show any more self-restraint during spring break this year than last?

Did they show any self-restraint for Memorial Day? Fourth of July? The summer in general? Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas?

Can vaccines outpace human selfishness, or do we stubbornly persist in opening schools when everything blows up in our faces yet again?

What if my son is the only one in his 5th grade class who opted for fully virtual? (He says he will feel safe, not excluded.)

How is he really going to learn virtually during the part of the day when his teacher and classmates are at school and he is online?

How will he see or hear when the area the camera covers will be so much bigger than a teacher sitting down at home to talk to her class?

How will a child who is already reluctant to ask a question because it might signify that he has failed at something ever be able to get help on an assignment?

How will a child with ADHD focus when he is only a device in the corner of the classroom?

How will he do it without me?

How has the district decided that we will all go back nine weeks from the end of the school year, after previously announcing that middle and high schools would open for activities and specific classes, but not for general education?

How do they think that it is acceptable to tell us that they have hired random community child care groups to operate in each elementary school (provided the child care groups can find enough staff and meet the safety requirements) and that this is the solution for teachers with children of their own who will not be in school?

How is it that my 2/3 time job will have me away from home from 8:30-3:30?

How is my architect husband, who is in and out of his home office every day, on the phone nearly constantly and often on site for hours at a time, supposed to meet the needs of his millions of dollars of current contracts while simultaneously making sure that our 5th grader goes to class, pays attention, and does his work, rather than playing Minecraft?

How are we supposed to make more hours in the day to juggle?

How am I, asthmatic and unvaccinated because I lost my appointment due to the more pressing need to have my pneumonia diagnosed, going to survive in a classroom?

If I, a teacher working her way through a third temporary contract and hoping for a permanent one, try to take leave for my family or for my health, will I ever teach again?

Is “hell, no, over my dead body!” a viable career move?

After hanging on for this long, how do we make the right decisions?

What do we do now?

15 thoughts on “What do we do now?

  1. Tough questions and a tough situation. One thing I am telling myself is that I can do anything for seven weeks. There is an end. I hope your questions are answered.

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    1. I have been telling myself and my husband the same thing. It will be awful, it will be grueling at the end of a year when I have just barely by my fingertips held it together, but we can survive for a few weeks.

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  2. Retired, I don’t have all these worries but share more than a few. Wrenching. I don’t know. Not much in the way of options. Hanging in there seems fraught with peril but may be the only one.

    fwiw I taught online long before all this and know that with the right teacher and approach, students reluctant to ask questions often feel bolder and will bloom on line.

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    1. I taught online, too, for six years, while my son was very small. I think that experience has definitely saved me in terms of being able to plan and present in a reasonably effective way. My 8th graders are all attending my class, and, while a few are really struggling with doing this on their own while parents work, most are passing too. The relationships are coming along, bit by bit. The way it feels is months behind the speed of forming bonds in person, for obvious reasons. It’s still sad, and a bit frustrating, but I also have definitely got students who are finding themselves blooming online.

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    1. Thank you. I wish the same for you, as you are locked down again. Some days it feels like both patience and resilience have been stretched to their limits, but, really, there is nothing to do but take a deep breath and dig a little deeper! They are in there somewhere.

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  3. Such a brilliant way to capture the maddening impossibility of what we are all–parents, teachers, kids–being asked to do this year. Like Heather, I keep telling myself that i can do anything for 8 weeks. Only 8 weeks. I taught two days in the building this week, and it felt impossible to teach online and give attention to the students in the classroom (only 3-4 at any given time).

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    1. I do not know one single teacher who actually thinks that simultaneously splitting your attention between online kids and in person kids is feasible or a good idea, yet here we all are. As a mom, my concern right now is not so much fear of germs in my son’s school, because it is a small school with a tight community and a 5 year old building with great air circulation, etc., and parents and teachers who all believe in science, and whom I think will respect the needs for masking and distancing in and outside of school. (Don’t ask me what I think about that in terms of my own students!) What I worry most about for my son is the restrictions. Stay in this six foot square. Don’t move. Don’t take a quick walk around the building to clear your head. No playing outside. No freedom to move to a quieter spot to work. No ability to shift around as comfort and the need to simply move outweigh the ability to function. No walking across the room for the next supply needed for the project. I genuinely don’t think he is a ten year old who could cope in those circumstances (especially as they are the situations, amplified, that led us out of public school and into this particular private school in the first place!)

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  4. Phew! What a list of questions!!!! So much to think about! No wonder you can’t sleep! I hope it all comes together and works out! Nine weeks is not so long!

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  5. You are grappling with so much at the moment. It seems like you are on a tightrope, trying desperately not to fall off. I know you’ll make the right decisions for you and your family, even if you haven’t figured out what those are yet. My thoughts are with you.

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    1. Yeah, it definitely feels very tightropy around here, but it has been so much worse for so many people, so I try to keep it in perspective. With a little luck, people in the U.S. will keep up the precautions a little while longer and summer can involve some normal activities again! Maybe even travel!

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