Being Available

It is such an odd situation to be waiting for someone to need you. I posted all my lessons yesterday so now I am just waiting for my superiors or my students to email with something to do. I would love to say I am bored but I am not sure that is really the case. I have been glued to the John Hopkins’s map about the virus and the way the cases keep jumping up everyday.

Coronavirus Map

I listen to audio books and play games with my boyfriend and kids.    It’s like my life is in some sort of holding pattern. I guess everyone across the country feels the same way. I know we have to be available to our jobs but it is such an odd existence. I still can’t believe this is really happening in real life. I still can’t fathom how we could all be quarantined in our homes because of an infectious virus. I know that we will eventually be on the other side of this situation but I wonder what life will be like by then. Will we go back to business as usual or will we all be forever changed? I worry about my son’s summer plans and how this will influence my daughter’s first year of college. I am lucky though because my boyfriend and I are in this together through thick and thin which reassures me. My kids and I are so lucky to have him.  We are truly a family which is such a relief after all these years as a single mom. Oh well my break is over and it is time to get back to being available to my students!!

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.

E-Learning

I completed my master’s degree online through University of Texas at Arlington. I also completed a Dual Credit English Certification online through Sam Houston State University. Although I was able to complete these programs through e-learning I have never had to teach that way.

Now I am trying to improvise and change my way of teaching into an online format. My district is asking us to post enrichment lessons that we aren’t allowed to take grades for which means that technically there is no real way to hold the students accountable for the assignments. We are being asked to be available every day during school hours to answer questions for our students. We are also being told to make contact with the parents’ of the students that aren’t completing the assignments that we can’t hold them accountable for. I realize that these are difficult times and although it is a crazy situation, I am actually happy to be working again. I am not sure if we will be able to return to school on March 30th like it is currently planned but I do hope at some point we are able to do more than just post enrichment lessons.

I am actually really proud of the students that have already participated in the enrichment activities and have checked in with me.

Utter Chaos

I am not even sure how to react or respond to the state of our world at the moment. We are dealing with things in the world that have never occurred in our lifetime. Businesses are closing the governments of the world are imposing travel restrictions on its citizens and others. School is closed and as of now we are not even sure when or if that is going to change for the rest of the school year. Stores are running out of stock of all sorts of items that people deem necessary for survival.

We are in uncharted territory as we get up everyday waiting to hear the latest news and see what new things our government has to share. We honestly don’t know how our lives will be each day as we wake up. We don’t know how long we will be asked to practice social distancing.

I wonder about the health of my children and my mother. I wonder about the outcome of the COVID-19 test that was done on my aunt who is in the ICU with pneumonia. I can only hope that a few months from now we will be able to look at this situation with relief that it is over and that life is getting back to normal. To all of us across the world we need to hold on to those we love and hang on until this situation passes.

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.

Jury Duty

So ironically enough my boyfriend and I have both been summoned to jury duty in the last two weeks. His summons was for the 6th of January and mine was for today. He was assigned to a specific court for a specific time but even though he sat through a couple of hours of voire dire he was picked. Today I made my trek to downtown to serve my civic duty. It took me forever to get to the courthouse because of the weather and early morning traffic. I arrived just as a bus was pulling up so I thought I was safe. However the bus filled up four people before I was able to get on it. I ended up standing outside wet and cold for several minutes waiting for the next bus. By the time we made it to the courthouse and through security we were told that we were too late to serve today. I had to reschedule my service for another date. Now I am at home instead of at work. I considered going in to work but I already have a sub and honestly it’s just not worth it with the weather outside. I am going to help one of my colleagues with the lesson plan during her conference period though because she is the only one of our group that is at work today. I am a bit concerned and feel guilty for not going in to work but I am hoping it will be okay.

Reflecting on 2019

I have had some very significant things happen to me in 2019. I met an amazing man at the end of 2018 that has spent all of 2019 with me. My oldest child graduated high school and moved in with my mom to attend college. My youngest child has started his junior year and then scored really high on his ACT and now he is much more focused on his future and college. It always amazes me at the end of every year how different my life seems to be. I knew at the beginning of this year there would be lots of changes with my daughter graduating and starting college. I didn’t expect to end the year with an amazing man that surprised me on Christmas Day with a trip to Paris, France for our spring break in March. I have had so many ups and downs over the last five or six years since my second divorce so it is nice to finally feel like I am on solid ground and moving forward in the right direction. I have a healthy relationship with a man that I can truly share my life with and I honestly never really expected to find that. I know that 2020 will bring its own challenges but I also know that I have someone by my side to share them with. Now is the time to focus on finding my son the perfect place to start his college experience in a year and a half. I can’t believe that I am on the cusp of having an empty nest and while a year ago that thought scared me a little bit, now I can’t wait to see what the future holds for my relationship and for my two beautiful children. Life is great!!!

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My Family Christmas 2019