School Is Closed

It still hasn’t totally sunk in that we aren’t going back to school this year. I won’t finish the year with my students and my colleagues. My son won’t being going back to school and continuing his UIL Theater competitions. My daughter is just home from college indefinitely. I know that eventually life has to get back to some level of normal, but what will that be?

I am not sure how I feel about Gov. Abbott’s decision to let retail businesses open with curbside pickup options. It seems like that is just putting more individuals at risk during a time when those types of businesses aren’t really essential. I know our economy is struggling but I also know that opening things back up too soon could be detrimental to everyone. We have been lucky so far in Texas in that our case numbers have been lower than other places, but that doesn’t change the contagion of the virus or the fact that more people being out means more risk to everyone.

My family is trying to stay safe so we have been really careful about not getting out unless we need something. It is so difficult though because being at home all the time is hard. I am starting to feel like my life has no purpose.

I completed my master’s and my Dual Credit Certification program through online classes but this is my first experience with them as a teacher. Although I wouldn’t exactly say this is a true online class. We are forced to all give the exact same assignments every week and we are only allowed to review material already covered. I feel bad that my students are missing out on so much learning. Next year will have its own set of challenges trying to get students back into the routine of school.  We will also have so many gaps to fill in order to get our students where they need to be. I am supposed to be teaching Dual Credit next year which will be even more of a challenge now with students missing out on the last few weeks of English 2. Our students struggle enough in Dual Credit as it is but now we will have even more challenges. There is so much unknown about the future.

Colleagues

I was missing my colleagues today so I called one of my closet friends at school. We had a great conversation and I realized that we are both struggling with many of the same feelings. We are both bored and irritated by the neediness of our students. I have used an online platform in my classes for many years now so it is difficult to understand why my students are struggling with using Google Classroom. Google Classroom is relatively easy to use and I still don’t understand why many of my students are struggling to use it. Our administrators want us to provide our students with video instructions for each of our online assignments. I have a hard time understanding why we need to record videos when my students don’t even listen to the things I say in class. I want all my students to be successful but I wish they would just read the directions provided on the various assignments. Many of the questions I have received are actually in the directions if my students could be bothered to pay attention and read them.

I am not really looking forward to having PLC’s again starting on Monday or the fact that we now have to have all assignments posted by 7pm every Sunday night.  I am still wondering how we are going to give our students grades for the rest of the year. The district has given us many guidelines about how to post assignments but they still haven’t told us how or if we are going to be giving grades for the rest of the year. Oh well I guess only time will tell.

Day 2 Interacting with Students Electronically

So I have been teaching my classes electronically now for two days.  I have been answering all sorts of emails from students and been consistently reminded by the powers that be that we are still getting paid so we need to make sure we are available during school hours.  The funny thing is that most of my kids aren’t even contacting me during school hours.  I have seen kids turning in assignments at all hours of the day and night. I am doing my best to be available to my students but I think it would be more beneficial if our students had a specific window of time designated for questions. My son’s school has been doing that and it seems to be a better option.  I think the district fails to realize that a lot of these kids are not going to be up before noon so they aren’t going to be asking questions in the mornings.

The questions that I am getting are a little ridiculous. Some of my students are acting like they have never done an assignment on Google Classroom and aren’t sure where they are supposed to go for information. I reorganized my Classwork page this morning so that it was extremely obvious where students need to go for their assignments. I have no idea how this experience is going to play out but I am trying to remain as positive as possible. It is so weird to be home everyday but I am still working and interacting with students.

I am also have to make sure my own child is taking care of all of his assignments for school as well.  I know College Board is developing a plan so that students can still get credit for their AP classes which is a relief for me after paying for three tests back in October. My son hasn’t been too bad so far but we will see how things go as the time progresses.

My older child is in college and her school goes to an online format as of March 30th. I am extremely curious how that will go for her trying to finish out her freshman year of college.

I know that eventually we will all be able to get back to normal but what kind of normal will it be? Will we be required to have a contingency plan every year now in the event that something happens in the world that causes mass hysteria and panic to people? Will we be required to utilize more digital resources so that students can seamlessly go from classroom instruction to online instruction? As an educator things seem to change all the time but for now I will take things one day at a time.

Extended Spring Break

So as a teacher I have been on Spring Break this last week and a few hours ago we were informed that our school district would be extending the break for additional two weeks. This announcement came an hour or so after my son’s school had already decided to extend their spring break for two weeks. My eldest child is in college and their spring break is set to start next week but they have already extended it a week and plan to start online only classes on March 30th. It is insane to think that we are actually living through something like this in our lifetimes. You would think with our advanced healthcare capabilities that we could find a way to get a handle on this without all the disruptions to life. I understand that most of the closures will end up being unnecessary and that school’s are erring on the side of caution but it is so hard to believe this is really happening. My boyfriend and I were talking earlier today about the virus and what the likelihood was that we would eventually contract it and it made me think of movies and video games. We have had so many movies released with themes that dealt with crazy viruses spreading and wiping out the population or video games with similar themes. I am a firm believer in the fact that you can’t be afraid of everything or you won’t live your life but at times like these it is hard to know what the right way to respond really is for people. I know our President is trying to limit travel Internationally but we still have people in highly infected areas like Seattle and California traveling to other parts of the United States. How is leaving an infected area in our country any different than one in Europe? I know it would be difficult for the President to restrict travel in our country but I wonder if maybe he should. We are already at a point where people are being told to contact health officials if they are worried about their health before showing up at doctor’s offices and hospitals. Testing is still limited in this country and there are people that can pass on the virus that don’t exhibit symptoms. Is there really a way to protect ourselves? I literally stood in a line at Costco this morning that went to the back of the store.  The store itself was so crowded that you could barely find an area to push buggies through the store. We had way too many people in that store at one time if you consider the current warnings about the virus. I hope that things will calm down soon and that people will stop giving in to the hysteria that is causing them to buy things they don’t need. We have no idea how long this virus is going to continue too rapidly spread so we need to focus on our own actions at the moment. I hope everyone reading this is able to keep themselves and their families safe and healthy during this trying time.

Graduation

So this last Sunday my oldest child graduated high school. It still hasn’t completely hit me that one of my kids doesn’t go back to high school next year or that my youngest only has two more years. I barely slept Saturday night and I was so anxious on Sunday morning that I was almost making myself sick. I was finally able to calm down after my boyfriend suggested we play a game with my mom and the kids Sunday afternoon. We had a lot of fun playing Catan and then we all got ready for graduation. I made it through graduation without crying which I thought was pretty cool. After graduation my daughter’s dad cooperated and we got some good family pictures with our kids. I am really glad my daughter has some pictures with her parents at graduation.

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My Daughter with both her parents!!

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Our original family!

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My current family with my boyfriend and my kids.

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My mom and my family.

After we were done with family pictures we took some pictures with my daughter and a few of her friends.

My daughter has really had a great group of friends over the last four years and it was really great to celebrate with a few of them after the ceremony.

The last picture I will share is actually one made by the high school during the graduation. It is a picture of my daughter looking ahead and it reminds me of all the wonderful things she has in front of her.

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One chapter ends but I can’t wait to see how the next chapter begins!!

Done

I just turned in my last paper or assignment associated with my Dual Credit English Certification that I have been working on for almost two years.  I am so super excited and I can hardly believe that I am done.  Now I can actually read for pleasure and spend more time on my blog again. I can work on my IB Certification and just spend time with my man. I can fully enjoy my daughter’s graduation and her graduation party in a couple of weeks. It feels great to be able to mark another accomplishment off my list. I remember about six years ago when I first started thinking about getting my masters how scared I was. I wasn’t sure it was something I could do. I didn’t think I was smart enough or even organized enough to do it all. I am a strong believer that we do what we have too if we want it badly enough. I found the time to finish my masters and be a more which I am extremely proud of. Then a couple of years ago I decided to start my Dual Credit English Certification. Yet again I figured out how to make it all work without going insane. I am lucky because I have great kids that always encourage me and a mom that has been super supportive. Now I have this amazing man in my life that has become my biggest cheerleader. He honestly inspires me to keep going after my dreams no matter what. I love the way we do life together and I look forward to our future.