Today is the last day of school before the break. Baby boy had to isolate for 10 days due to cold symptoms which means mama’s gotta stay home. Since I’ve been away from my students all week, I decided to do a quick google meet with them during snack time. I’m glad I did because after the break we may be under a full lockdown again. Likely, if last spring is any indication, I won’t see many of my students faces again. Not for a while, anyway.
Not returning to school after March break and all that has followed, has been a particularly stressful time for teachers. And so, while I know learning online will be better than it was last spring, teaching virtually doesn’t compare with face-to-face teaching and learning.
In the four months we’ve been back at face-to-face- school, I’ve had to spend 3 weeks at home due to Covid19. I know face-to-face school shouldn’t be happening right now, not with our daily positive Covid19 numbers as high as they are. I bear witness to the fact it’s near impossible to distance 25 kindergarteners in a classroom. And overall, face-to-face school is simply not safe. This doesn’t mean I want to teach virtually, though. I’ve done both, and unless I’m under some extenuating circumstances, I’ll always choose face-to-face school.
Teaching is about connection and relationships, and with a bunch of ‘can’t sit still, distracted kindergarteners in front of a screen’, I struggle with that. Especially while tending to my own little one at the same time.
Nevertheless, on this 14th last day of 2020 I give thanks for my passion for teaching. As a teacher, I put up with a lot of nonsense fairly regularly. This year though, has been rough beyond belief. Here’s a super short (barely any detail) rundown of my ‘Teaching in Toronto in the year 2020’ experience:
- January 2020 – Ontario teacher strikes
- February 2020 – Ontario teacher strikes
- March 2020 – March Break straight into lockdown
- April 2020 – emergency remote learning
- May 2020 – emergency remote learning
- June 2020 – emergency remote learning
- July 2020 – worry
- August 2020 – worry
- September 2020 – start of school delayed. Way more students enrolled in Virtual school than anticipated.
- have to choose between virtual or face-to-face school
- no longer teaching grade 1, teaching grade ½
- deployed to virtual school
- October 2020 – ‘saved’ and to remain in face-to-face school
- no longer teaching grade ½, moving to kindergarten (not even gonna talk about the ‘spitter’)
- positive covid case in class – self-isolating and pivoting to online learning
- November 2020 – several ECE’s (early childhood educator’s) are deployed to virtual school.
- December 2020 – baby boy has cold symptoms and must miss 10 days from daycare which means I must miss the last week of school before the break.
- Winter break
- January 2021 – TBD but we’ve been told to be ‘ready to pivot’.
Clearly, if it weren’t for genuine love and belief in what I do as a teacher, I’d have run off a long time ago!