I, Joy Kirr, am a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. My 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of my learning experiences... Want to have me speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is my PORTFOLIO.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Day 111 - Fears & Worries

Note: This is not one of my posts I would share with the world. This is reflection. This post helps no one but me. It's writing I have to get off my chest. I suppose many of my COVID posts are like this... hence not sharing via social media. Reflection can be therapeutic.

I WANT to be back in school.
I want to sit with my students in a group and facilitate their tough discussions.
I want students to socialize with each other and learn from each other.
I want to see their smiles and hear their stories.
I even want to help them LEARN!

That being said, I'm fearful and worried about everybody being in the school building again, and I just have to write about it.
  • My husband is 68 years old. 
  • My parents (who I am able to distance from right now) are 76 & 85 years old.
  • We struggled mightily to find substitute/guest teachers when there wasn't a pandemic.
  • Some students come to school sick due to not having care at home.
  • It will be on us to be the constant reminder to "keep your mask over your face."
  • What type of learning can happen when students that are there are worried about getting the virus?
  • What type of learning can happen when students need to stay in their seats all day and aren't allowed to get in partners or groups?
  • How will we walk in the hallways between classes?
  • Some seventh graders lose things. All the time. Will we have backup masks in each room?
  • Eating in classrooms? It's kind of difficult to eat with a mask on... Supposedly I'm exempt from being required to eat with students. Will that staff need to be hired? Who will volunteer for that?
  • I hear that we'll have to monitor the bathrooms to be sure students aren't "congregating." And how are we supposed to do that while we're monitoring our classrooms down the hall? And then why am I seeing these students congregating in the neighborhood without masks?
  • If planners for this next school year are meeting remotely, what does that say about opening schools?
  • We may suddenly be back at home if someone contracts the virus. 
  • What we might be doing is not an "online course." I've read that online courses are effective. I'm glad. It also has nothing to do with what we tried in the spring. Online courses are CHOSEN by students. Classes are spaced out or completed on students' own time. Those who voluntarily take online classes most likely know how to prioritize and organize more than our K-12 students, or they have someone at home helping them along.
  • One of my students on our last Zoom meeting of the school year said that they were going on vacation the very next day with at least one other family. One of their friends shared via social media two days ago a huge gathering (100 or so?) at a local park where (although it was a quick video) I didn't spot anyone wearing masks. And that was just the latest post that got me even more fearful and had me write this post today. It is my fear that these will be families who will send their child to school, along with children of those families who need to send them because they have no other options.
  • I'm worried about some of the questions Sarah posted on this thread. (Update: Her blog post is listed below.)
  • I laugh and cry when reading this thread from Jen Roberts.
  • I'm worried I won't be the teacher they need.
  • I'm not worried about getting sick. I'm worried about my husband and parents getting sick. I'm worried about how my husband and parents would RECOVER from being sick.
I have a feeling I'll be adding to this post as the day we return to school buildings gets closer.

I feel as if whatever way we go, there will be educators and parents and educator-parents who will be worried, fearful, and feel they have no choice as to what to do based on income, family, and position. I don't have the answers. I'm just fearful and worried. And yes, the income for our household is on me.

And I WANT to be back in school.
I want to sit with my students in a group and facilitate their tough discussions.
I want students to socialize with each other and learn from each other.
I want to see their smiles and hear their stories.
I even want to help them LEARN!

I'll be smiling in front of students, no matter my fears. I'm aware I'll be setting the tone. I've purchased two masks with messages for my students: "I am here for you." "Let's learn." I wish this one didn't command others to "smile..." It may just be my yearbook photo, however.

Update 7/3/20 - I was intrigued by this idea, yet know it's very unlikely to happen.
     I never added ISBE's recommendations... HERE they are.

Update 7/12/20 - More stories to read...that I might not actually read myself.
     3 Arizona Teachers Test Positive for COVID-19 After Sharing Summer School Classroom, 1 Passes Away
     How Many Sick Children and Teachers Are Worth It?
     Nobody Asked Me: A Teacher's Opinion
     Mask to Mask Instruction May Be More Problematic than Distance Learning
     Nation's Pediatricians Walk Back Support for In-Person School
     'I Don't Want to Go Back' Many Teachers are Fearful...
     Thinking about Reopening Your Schools? Read This First...
     Photos: How Hong Kong Reopened Schools, and Why It Closed Them Again
     No One Wins, But No One Dies...
     Facebook thread...
     What Teachers Want You to Know about Reopening Schools

Update 7/18/20 -
And to those who are thinking... what about everyone else? Why should teachers not have to go back to work? How are they so different? (Note - I did NOT tweet this, as I know there are sooooo many pieces to this puzzle that I don't even know about, in addition to the pieces I DO know about, and again, I do not have a good solution.) Not so different? Try being surrounded by 150 preteens/day - many who don't even wash their hands during flu season. We can go back to work remotely, like many others have done. There is no easy solution, but we have a few weeks to hear other ideas. Plus, as a nation we could try three full weeks with masks and distance.

Some Students Should Go to School; Most Should Stay Home - opinion piece from 7/17/20

I Spent Three Weeks in School with COVID19 <-- Will in-school be like this??

No comments:

Post a Comment