I’ve decided to start a weekly blog (Hold me to it!) of my experiences with school closures with the spread of Covid-19. I can look back on it, and maybe others out there can relate, or get some insight, or learn from my success and inevitable mistakes. This is new for all of us and we’re all learning on the fly.
When my phone pinged with a Sunday night text that the school building would be closed for weeks, a thousand questions flooded into my mind. Do we have everything we need at home? Are my students okay? How will this affect Joe, my husband working in the healthcare world? Are we going to be okay? Am I okay? What now?
After meeting with my building team on Tuesday, in the school, sitting desks apart from my colleagues, I needed to wrap my head around delivering content to my students. All learning is optional. Nothing is graded. Some students don’t have devices. Honestly, I’m still wrapping my head around delivering content to students. But my mind kept going back to the thought: are my students okay?
I popped into the Desmos recording of Dan Meyer talking teachers through this stress and unknown, and I reached out to my Twitter friend Casey, and I put together this activity to check in (linked) with my students and their well-being, using Dan and Casey’s brilliant ideas. I found out my students were doing better than me. Whew! Relief. Even if it was just a little relief.
“Draw a point to let me know where you are right now on the scale…”
Note to self: Work on the vocabulary term “point” when we get back to school.
After making a quick trip to the store the next morning, I felt better about the contents of our cupboards and pantry. Check, check!
Explaining the pandemic to my young children was something I won’t forget, and it’s something I’m still explaining weeks later. Joe and I talked to my preschooler about not being able to go to school that morning, that people were getting sick and not wanting to spread germs. We are so blessed that his preschool teacher Mrs. S. sent a video soon after, and he was relieved to see her face and play a classroom guessing-game with her via a recording. The smile on his face was full of light and as big as the sun. Mrs. S. sets up a time weekly so the kids can see each other and do a short activity. Y’all, teachers are the best. And I’m finding that homeschooling isn’t easy. (Maybe that’s a blog for another day…)
I somehow ended up on TikTok, between my college-aged sister and math friend Martin telling me about it. I started scrolling and watching. Then my husband and I decided that making videos and getting creative would be a fun way to spread some JOY and laughter! Feel free to take a peek into our lives. Our workout video (linked) has thousands of views at this point, our band practice video (linked) makes me chuckle every time, and we get messages on the days we don’t have time to post a new addition to our quarantine series. It has honestly decreased the stress-level at our home, and we’ve grow closer together while getting a glance at our sons’ creativity.
Self-care. When I went into survival-mode, my self-care took a back seat. Now I have to remember to make it a priority, though most days that’s on the bottom of my checklist.
Sometimes I go out and get some fresh air. Sometimes I go to a quiet(ish) place and read my books. Sometimes I just go to a quiet(ish) place in the house and just breathe. Sometimes I put down my phone and leave it in another room.
I know I’m no good for my family, my students, our math community, etc., if I don’t take care of myself, though it takes constant reminders.
I’m a work in progress. This isn’t easy. There are new challenges and news of the spreading of the virus every day. I’ll keep supporting my family and the amazing teachers across the country as we figure out this new, temporary “normal” together. We’ve got this! One day at-a-time!
*How have you checked in with your students since your school closed? How are you making the best of lots of family time or self-care time? Let me know in the comments!