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.