Whoa. Just whoa.
I can’t believe that two weeks ago I was told that school was going to be closed due to a global pandemic. I say the words out loud to myself and it doesn’t even seem real. I have gone through every emotion in the past two weeks from crying to laughing hysterically to the desire to sleep for a month. Like most, I miss my friends and family, am incredibly nervous that my partner is still working and am generally more on edge.
These past two weeks have also probably been the hardest in my teaching career and it is only the beginning.
So how do we manage through this?
I made my first couple of phone calls to my students and their families this morning. That really helped. It connected me to my wonderful students and brought me back to the best profession in the world. It also reminded me that we are going to have to work really closely with our families and be in tune to what they need. This is such a stressful and uncertain time for everyone. Some of my students have rolled along and adapted quickly, others are desperately missing their peers and are quite anxious. All I can promise is that I am going to try my hardest to meet all their needs the best that I can.
Like many other groups of students in our education system, my students have very unique learning needs. All the students in my class are on Alternative IEPs and many of the activities in our classroom use specialized equipment, technology and materials that the average family wouldn’t have in their home. All of this means that I am going to have to be a very creative, think outside the box teacher to connect with my students in the way that works best for them!
I am very fortunate to work with an amazing team of Educational Assistants and colleagues at school. I have spent many hours brainstorming with my special education colleagues about different tools and ideas for our students to use at home. The EAs and I have been testing different technology options that we could use collaboratively with our students. This will ensure that no matter what is asked of us next week that we are ready to roll.
And even with all the best laid plans, nothing is going to match my students coming off the bus with big smiles ready to start a new day at school with all of their classmates and teachers. So all we can do is carry on and hope the curve flattens right out so we can go back to being with each other.