I ended my first day back to teaching yesterday feeling like a boss. Rather, like a dumb boss.
I knew prior to our winter break that we were going to be teaching online this week. It’ll likely be longer, but they keep saying we’ll be back in the classroom by next week. Time will tell. Regardless, despite knowing we’d be online I refused to do any work over the break. Absolutely refused. This has been the most draining school year and a break was needed.
The weekend prior to resuming however, reality began to set in and I needed to prepare. You just can’t wing it online. 🤷🏾♀️ It’s simply not a thing. During my preparation, I was battling the conflicting advice of the union with that of my admin (c/o the school board, c/o the Ministry of Ed). The union’s advice made sense. The other directive did not.
These people were really expecting us to be ready to teach online, Monday morning at 9am coming off of a break. When were we supposed to prepare? Our pay is pro-rated. Contrary to popular and ignorant belief we’re not paid for holidays. Why am I supposed to work during my holiday? During my more than deserved break?
But, what did I do? I prepared…at the last minute, till really late at night when I should’ve been sleeping. I prepared because you simply cannot ‘wing it’ online. I couldn’t show up to class with my kinders and their parents staring at me through a screen with nothing prepared for their learning.
So, I delivered. While there were many annoyances and interruptions and at times it was quite chaotic (for me anyway). I delivered. At 3pm I said bye to my munchkins and their parents feeling rather successful, considering the circumstances.
But that sense of peace and calm that had finally washed over me, was short-lived. In the early evening I got an email from my principal asking me to call her. I called.
Now for a little background information: I have several students on my class-list that I’ve never met. They are in limbo. Neither in “brick & mortar” school or in “virtual” school, and it is my responsibility to provide them with work online. I saw one of the students for the first time yesterday for maybe about 30 minutes.
Back to my principal now. She explains to me that the child’s parent would like them moved to another class because what I’m doing is Grade 1 work and their child can’t manage the work. She explains to the parent “Nope, that’s not happening. If you have a concern, you need to speak to the teacher about the child’s needs.”
Now, the only conversations I’ve ever had with this parent have had to do with them wanting their child in face-to-face school, and then wanting them back into the virtual classroom they were previously assigned. In all these conversations, I’ve told the parent none of these decisions have anything to do with me.
Anyway, I digress. The parent has disclosed to my principal that the child has medical needs and requires accommodations. What does this mean for me? Well, it now means that I’ve got to prepare paperwork identifying the child’s strengths and needs and attend a bunch of meetings in order for them to get the support they require.
I understand this all, what I don’t understand is, why me?!?! Any work I’ve seen from the child was very obviously completed by the parent. I know nothing about this little person and now I’m required to go and advocate on their behalf?! My mind is boggled and I remain highly annoyed. I don’t think I’m being unjust or insensitive. I think I’m just fed up of giving so much to a system that just takes and takes and takes some more. There’s no end to what they’ll take from us, because at the end of the day, we deliver. 🤦🏾♀️
And that’s my #teachingtuesday rant. Rest well teacher friends. Rest well, cuz they’re just going to keep taking. At least get some rest in the midst of it all. (Jan 5, 2021)