This is where I’ll share moments of teaching at home during the COVID-19 quarantine. It’s a shitshow… enjoy!
Day 1 (March 30, 2020)
Although we’ve been out of school since the day ended on 3/13, today was the first day of “class.” School will be closed until 4/15, so we have to teach remotely and hope that all of the students are able to access our lessons and keep up with everything.
I planned to get up early and go for a walk before starting my day. That didn’t happen. When I woke up, I put on a bra, got dressed and ready to sit at the table for several hours. Before going from mommy to Mrs. Lerner, I took my kids outside for a first day of school picture; they didn’t want to do it, but I didn’t care.
I sat down to log on to Canvas, which the district is mandating we use and was unable to connect. I don’t know how they hadn’t planned or prepared in the two weeks we were off to figure out how to handle every single student and teacher in the county who would be using the same website at the same time. It’s almost like they didn’t know this would be happening.
My “classroom” has been my dining room table, which I’m sharing with my husband. My gigantic monitor (Big Bertha) separates us by sight, not by sound. When we both have calls at the same time, it’s really awesome.
While I was struggling to get on to work with my students, my two children were having issues connecting and completing work. Four people with four computers, and only one of us was actually successfully working.
As the day went on, I grew increasingly frustrated. Students were reaching out to me about grades, but I couldn’t get into the gradebook. They were telling me about work being assigned by other teachers, when we’re not giving new work this week. It was both sad and laughable.
The principal asked us to send a photo that she’s going to put into a message for students. This is what I sent.
Realizing that I wasn’t able to get any work done, I decided to stop for the day. I hoped that tomorrow would be better and easier.
Day 2 (March 31, 2020)
Well, today was better, but it was still a kick in the crotch.
The websites were moving faster, but I was still hit with a barrage of questions and complaints about things above my pay grade.
I found out last night that the state decided that schools would remain closed until at least 5/1. It just sucks, and my heart breaks for the seniors. They lost half of the 2018 school year because of the incident, and now they’re losing half of the 2020 school year. It’s not yet known if prom will happen, and no one has said anything about graduation.
I worked today to do make-up quizzes with my English classes, and I was able to enter grades.
I just have to figure what I’m going to teach, and how, since it’s not certain if 5/1 will be moved back.
While all of this regular “instruction” is happening, I still have to finish the yearbook. The editors, staff and I have been working so hard to meet our deadline. It seems like an insurmountable task, but we’ve made an impossible book before and we can do it again.
Day 3 (April 1, 2020)
Today was the first day I’ve ever given a quiz online, as well as the first day I’ve given a quiz over Zoom. I had some seniors who had to makeup “Macbeth” quizzes, and grades closed tomorrow. It was a bit of a circus, but we got it done.
I was a guest on “Sundial” on the local NPR affiliate, WLRN, today. I spoke about teaching virtually and the mess that we’re all trying to work through.
It’s just a real struggle to make sure I can get my own work done, while being home with my children and make sure they get their work done.
Day 4 (April 2, 2020)
Well… grades closed today, which meant a barrage of emails and messages asking about missing assignments and extra credit. I wish they would put this much focus into getting the work done during the marking period, instead of waiting until the day grades close.
While home, I’ve found solace in funny teacher memes. Two of my favorite accounts on both Instagram and Twitter are Bored Teachers and Teacher Goals. These are some that made me laugh.
Day 5 (April 3, 2020)
Since grades closed for the third marking period yesterday, I was able to devote all of my time to yearbook. I posted within the actual blog about an email I sent to the entire faculty/staff about finishing the yearbook.
I can’t understand how I’m so much more tired working from home. I sleep later, get to relax in my day jammies, don’t feel the stress of an actual bell schedule, and eat and use the restroom whenever I please… but I’m also not sleeping well, or much at all. I worry about my students, miss them and think of them all the time. I hope they’re ok. I hope they’re staying safe and healthy. I hope they have enough food and the technology resources they need.
Being a teacher is tough on a good day. This takes it a whole new level.
Day 6 (April 6, 2020)
Today the last marking period of the school year began. I posted a week’s worth of assignments up, as well as announcements. I’ve never been exclusively an online teacher, so this is all new to me.
Day 7 (April 7, 2020)
I’m finding it difficult to balance my time working, while also helping my children with their schoolwork. There are areas where I clearly excel, and others where I’m definitely lacking.
Day 8 (April 8, 2020)
I spent 12 hours today “teaching” while working on the yearbook today. It was due two days ago. That’s all I have to report.
Day 9 (April 9, 2020)
It’s now the third day of the marking period. I’ve gotten about 580 emails and Remind messages from students saying that they can’t find the textbook online. I’ve told them exactly how to access the book and where to find the story. I love my students, but my patience is wearing thin.
Day 10 (April 10, 2020)
Today was Good Friday, so school was “closed.” I really enjoyed having the day off, which sounds so stupid since I’m always home.
Day 11 (April 13, 2020)
I texted my English seniors, seeing who might be interested in doing a Zoom call. I posed it as a break from isolation, and was surprised by how many takers there were. I figured they’re all still being so social, even if it’s from a distance. I guess they miss me as much as I miss them. I promised them that there wouldn’t be anything academic. Just a chance to “see” each other, check in and catch up.
Day 12 (April 14, 2020)
I had the Zoom call with my seniors today. About eight students were on. It was nice to just talk. They want to do more of them. I miss my kids.
Day 13 (April 15, 2020)
I’m still over here… ignoring my own kids to get the yearbook finished. Send help.
In other news, I’m just so impressed by my son. He’s always been an independent learner, but he’s really stepped up his game. He’s up before any of us, usually around 7:30-7:45. He gets his small white board, writes out all of his tasks for the day, logs in and gets to work immediately. He has a Zoom call every morning at 10 with his math teacher. He’s working so hard, and I’m just so proud of him. He’s setting himself up to be very successful in high school!
Day 14 (April 16, 2020)
We got an email that prom was cancelled. It was supposed to happen on May 9, which is also my 40th birthday. My seniors and I had decided that I’d chaperone prom on the condition that the entire senior class would sing happy birthday to me.
I’m so sad that they’re losing another senior right of passage. This whole thing just sucks. It really does.
Day 15 (April 17, 2020)
One benefit of “teaching” from home is that I get to spend more time with my children. My daughter likes to sit next to me while she’s doing her work. She reads to me, which always leads to snuggles. It’s so nice. I really appreciate that our lives have been forced to slow down. We’re always so busy and don’t really get to just *be* together. I’m thankful for this.
Day 16 (April 20, 2020)
We got news over the weekend that schools would remain closed for the rest of the school year. I don’t know what else to say.
Day 17 (April 21, 2020)
There was a really cool article I found on The New York Times website about seniors who still got dressed up for photo shoots, even though their proms were cancelled. I used it as an assignment for my journalism classes and sent it to my seniors. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/17/style/prom-canceled-coronavirus.html
Day 18 (April 22, 2020)
We took a little break from learning to do a little cooking. My daughter wanted to bake brownies. She seriously did everything herself – all I did was put it in the oven and then take it out. There weren’t any chocolate chips in the mix, so she added some. The brownies were absolutely delicious. She might have a future as a pastry chef.
Day 19 (April 23, 2020)
The yearbook should’ve been finished almost three weeks ago. I’m getting pressure from my rep and AP, and I’m putting pressure on my editors and staff. It’s growing increasingly frustrating to finish this book. I know that we have to, and that we will. It’s just hard to find that light at the end of the tunnel when the train is heading toward you.
Day 20 (April 24, 2020)
I had a really nice Zoom call with some of my English seniors. Nothing academic. No curriculum. Just a chance to “see” each other, check in and catch up. It was really nice, and they want to do more of them. I miss my kids.
Day 21 (April 27, 2020)
There wasn’t much teaching today. Actually, there wasn’t any. Today was my daughter’s 11th birthday, and I wanted to make the day special for her. It sucks being stuck in on quarantine for your birthday, especially for someone as social and friend-centered as she is.
I sent a text to my students that I’d be posting assignments on Canvas later, which didn’t happen. I’ll get all of their work posted tomorrow. As much as I’m a teacher, I’m always a mom first.
Day 22 (April 28, 2020)
In addition to putting up assignments today, I also put something up for Teacher Appreciation Week. I know how hard we’re all working while “teaching” from home, and it’s nice to be appreciated. I tasked the kids with selecting three teachers to write letters to, and I’ll organize them to send to the teachers.
Day 23 (April 29, 2020)
I took it easy today. I even took a well-deserved nap. Toward the end of yearbook production (which was over the weekend), I sat at my dining room table staring at my computer screen for 12-14 hours over the course of several days. My students already had their work, so I was able to answer emails and then take a break.
Day 24 (April 30, 2020)
I graded like a maniac today to make up for not grading or entering anything for a few weeks because I was finishing the yearbook. I managed to get in the three required assignments for interims, knowing that everything else will be graded in due time.
We had a virtual faculty meeting today. Graduation was discussed, as well as a plan to get seniors all of their graduation cords, medals, certificates, etc. I placed an order for cords for my yearbook seniors. I do it every year, but this year I won’t be able to hand it to them; they’ll be placed in a bag with everything else. That makes me sad.
Day 25 (May 1, 2020)
I got a few pre-Teacher Appreciation Week emails today, as well as some letters from students as part of the assignment I gave this week. I always smile when I read them. It’s nice that they take the time to tell me what I mean to them.
Day 26 (May 4, 2020)
Today began Teacher Appreciation Week. It also began week 457 of quaranteaching. I woke up to find a Facebook notification that I was nominated to be “adopted” as part of the “MSD Teacher Appreciation Week Adopt-A-Teacher” campaign. I was adopted by one of my yearbook student’s families. I’m always honored and flattered to be recognized, but it means so much more now, since we’re all working harder than when we were in physical classrooms. I, in turn, nominated my friend, neighbor and dance break partner, Tammy Orilio.
I also announced the 2021 yearbook editorial board. Everyone was excited, although I did receive a little push-back that soon subsided. I’m excited to get back to school to work with my staff. It will be a great book with a great staff and editorial leadership.
Day 27 (May 5, 2020)
Day 28 (May 6, 2020)
Day 29 (May 7, 2020)
I contacted all of the seniors who currently had an F in my English class today. There were 35. That’s almost half of my total seniors. For most, it was a handful of small assignments overlooked or not turned in. Once they did, they were passing. The others simply hadn’t turned in any work since the marking period began on 4/6. If I couldn’t reach them, I emailed their parents. Anyone who hasn’t turned in work or responded by the weekend will be contacted again on Monday.
The assignments I’ve given aren’t difficult or time-consuming. I know that everyone has different things going on: they’re working more hours, watching siblings, having to share devices, parents are out of work, their mental health is suffering, etc. I just wish they’d communicate with me, so I can work with deadlines. Grades close for seniors on 5/29, and they’re running out of time. I’ve always been fair, understanding and reasonable, but I can’t work with radio silence.
To make the day better, I received this relaxing spa basket from my MSD adoptive family.
Day 30 (May 8, 2020)
I worked this morning to get grades updated for my Intro to Journalism students, and then contacted those who weren’t doing well. Thankfully, the numbers are much smaller than my seniors. My favorite units are at the end of the year, and I hate that they’re doing all of it remotely without me.
I was surprised with a movie night basket from my MSD adoptive family.
The remainder of the 2019-2020 school was a blur and much of the same. No posts necessary.
Here’s to starting off the 2020-2021 school online.
Day 1 (August 19, 2020)
Today is the first day of the 2020-2021 school year. Schools are closed to students, and we’re all teaching/learning virtually. I have decided to teach from home.
Day 2 (August 20, 2020)
Today was day one, take two. I saw my other classes: intro to journalism and yearbook. Since it was a J-Day, I wore my newspaper pants. The kids couldn’t see them, but they made me happy.
Day 3 (August 21, 2020)
Since I can’t see or hear my students, I decided to download laugh tracks to entertain myself. This way, when I say something funny, I’ll get the laughs I deserve. I played them for my senior English classes, and they were a big hit!
Day 4 (August 24, 2020)
The biggest thing I miss about being physically at school is showing off my themed & witty attire. I probably have enough journalism shirts to last an entire month without wearing the same one twice. I guess I’ll just have to take pics to post how clever my clothes are.
Day 5 (August 25, 2020)
Day 6 (August 26, 2020)
Day 7 (August 27, 2020)
Day 8 (August 28, 2020)
Day 9 (August 31, 2020)
Day 10 (September 1, 2020)
Day 11 (September 2, 2020)
Day 12 (September 3, 2020)
Day 13 (September 4, 2020)
Day 14 (September 8, 2020)
Day 15 (September 9, 2020)
It’s really tough out here for us. I know it is for the students and parents, but it’s really difficult for us. We were heroes in March/April, and now we’re viewed as non-essential workhorses in Aug/Sept.
Day 16 (September 10, 2020)
Day 17 (September 11, 2020)
Day 18 (September 14, 2020)
Day 39 (October 13, 2020)
Today was the first back with students physically on campus. I had to teach with a mask on during the periods I had students in the room. I had four students during my 5th period and six during my 6th period Intro to Journalism classes. It was nice to have students in the room, but it was also very strange. I continued to teach to my screen, so the only difference for them was location.
Day 40 (October 14, 2020)
Day 41 (October 15, 2020)
Day 42 (October 16, 2020)
Day 47 (October 23, 2020)
Someone in one of my daughter’s classes tested positive for COVID. We found out at 4:45p. I immediately took her to get tested. I got tested, too. I’ll teach from home and she’ll do school from home next week just to be safe.
Day 48 (October 26, 2020)
Someone in one of my daughter’s classes tested positive for COVID. We were notified on Friday. To be safe,
Day 52 (October 30, 2020)
I taught from home today while I waited for COVID results.
Day 53 (November 2, 2020)
I ran senior picture makeups on campus today. I had over 250 seniors scheduled and about 80 came. I sat in the office all day. I’m mad.
Day 54 (November 4, 2020)
I took today off. It’s the only day I’ve called out all year so far (which is a record for me). I was so wrapped up in election coverage last night, and with everything so unsettled, I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate in school.
Day 55 (November 5, 2020)
I gave the unit test on “Beowulf” today. I hate giving tests online. It’s so easy for the students to cheat (even though I wrote the test, so they can’t find it anywhere else online).
Day 57 (November 9, 2020)
As if this year couldn’t be any more fun, campuses are closed today for Tropical Storm Eta. At first, the district in its infinite wisdom was going to have us do eLearning. During a tropical storm. The BTU stepped in, and now it’s a day off. What a shitshow.
Day 60 (November 13, 2020)
I ran underclass picture retakes today. What a mess. I scheduled over 600 students to come to campus to take their pictures. Only 50 came. I sat in the office all day. I hope that Monday’s picture attendance is better.
Day 61 (November 16, 2020)
Today was the second & final picture day of the year! I had over 600 students scheduled to take pictures today, and about 120 came. More than Friday, but not nearly enough.
Day 64 (November 19, 2020)
I attended the virtual NSPA Fall Conference today. I hate not being there in person. I presented two sessions. Since I was on a “field trip,” I left work for my classes to complete online. This is all so strange.
Day 65 (November 20, 2020)
Today was the second day of NSPA. I moderated three sessions today, including one from my cousin. I left work for my classes, but attendance was very light due to Thanksgiving break next week.
Day 68 (December 2, 2020)
Students were mandated to keep their cameras on during class starting today. They were NOT happy about it. I don’t care if the cameras are off. I’m so used to not having the kids look/stare at me, that seeing all of their cameras on feels a bit odd. I also don’t feel comfortable “being in their homes.”
Day 69 (December 3, 2020)
My seniors had song parodies due today. This is one of my favorite assignments of the year. I love to see how clever the kids can be.
Day 71 (December 7, 2020)
I read “A Modest Proposal” with my seniors today. It definitely loses something reading it over the computer as compared to when we all read together in my classroom.
My son was in my classroom during his lunch and he got a text from his hockey coach that he (the coach) tested positive for COVID. We left campus when his lunch was over (I was still in class) and went to get tested. He did PCR and I did both rapid & PCR. My rapid was negative. Now we wait…
Day 72 (December 8, 2020)
My son & I did school from home today while we wait for our PCR results. I hate school from home. My daughter is on campus.
Day 73 (December 9, 2020)
My son & I did school from home today. Our PCR results came in and we’re both negative. He wants to stay home for the rest of the week. I’ll go back to campus tomorrow.
Day 74 (December 10, 2020)
Back to campus for me. Today was a journalism day, so I had some students in my two morning classes. None in the afternoon.
Day 75 (December 11, 2020)
I woke up feeling a little stuffy and had the foresight to get COVID tested. I’m positive. I called my husband & told him to take the kids to get tested, along with getting tested himself. The whole story is under the COVID Chronicles tab on the main page.
Day 76 (December 14, 2020)
I didn’t feel well today (thanks, COVID). I did a brief review with my journalism classes for their exam and answered whatever questions they had. I let each class go early, and I slept a good part of the day. I met with yearbook during their class time to go over our upcoming deadline… this ought to be fun!
Midterm Exams (December 15-18, 2020)
Students took their exams online, which I’ve never done before for midterms. I’ve given essay finals, but never a midterm. I had to completely overhaul my exams to make them online friendly. I hope I never have to do this again.
Day 77 (January 4, 2021)
Today is the first day back from winter break. It was a much needed time off. I am still teaching from home because even though I’m no longer contagious, I’m still testing positive for COVID. Even though I have very few students on campus, I would prefer to teach from there. I am more focused and get more work done when I’m actually at work. When I’m home, I find that I’m easily drawn to do things around the house, or watch tv during my planning period. It’s hard to stay on top of things when everything you need is at school.
Day 78 (January 5, 2021)
… and we’re back.
I went to campus yesterday at 3:15 (after everyone was gone) to get materials I’ll need while continuing to teach from home. Had I known I was going to end up at home for so long due to COVID, I would’ve grabbed the items before I left on 12/10. I had to bring Big Bertha home so I can get yearbook pages sent… since who knows when my quarantine will end.
Day 79 (January 6, 2021)
I worked to get incoming & returning staff applications ready for the 2022 yearbook staff. It’s so strange that we’re at this point already, especially since I have yet yo meet or really get to know my J1 classes.
Day 80 (January 7, 2021)
I spent some time today talking to my journalism classes about the events at the Capitol yesterday.
Day 81 (January 8, 2021)
I spent some time today talking to my senior classes about the events at the Capitol on Wednesday.
Day 82 (January 11, 2021)
I’m still teaching from home while I await my most recent PCR results.
I began “Macbeth” today. I gave background info on Shakespeare & the play itself. It’s so strange to have to teach it this way… but, even if I was on campus, they wouldn’t be.
I had a discussion with my first period seniors about how they’re liking (or disliking) learning from home. I told them how sad it is that we could go the whole year without ever seeing each other, without ever actually meeting face-to-face. It seems too bizarre to me that I could teach an entire year without really knowing my students.
Day 85 (January 14, 2021)
I had a discussion with each of my journalism classes about what’s been going on in the country, from the 1/6 riots to impeachment and beyond to the inauguration. It was important to do, not just because this is clearly something that impacts all of us as Americans, but also because they’re student journalists, and it’s important to talk about the role the media plays in covering things like this.
Day 88 (January 19, 2021)
Well, I’m officially home alone today. The kids both went to school and my husband went back to the office (for the day, anyway). I’m still testing positive for COVID, more than five weeks since my initial diagnosis.
I’ll teach and hang with Ruby. Lots of belly scratches in her future.