I’ve had this blog for almost 5 years, and after all that time, I’ve never managed to get into the habit of actually…you know…blogging. I’m not going to sit here and give excuses because I’m pretty sure I’ve done that before. I’m also not going to pretend that I’m super motivated and set posting goals for myself. Last time it only lasted for a month or two, and that was about a year ago…
Anyway! What have I been up to recently?
I live in Copenhagen, and in mid-March, the city abruptly went into Covid lockdown. March 11th was the last day that I was in the classroom with my students.
Starting March 16th, I was providing remote learning for my class, which I have to admit was a fun challenge. I recorded videos and designed tasks for my students to complete with the help of their parents. A little less than half of my class was completing activities, but I was still enjoying posting every day.
A week before Easter, things got interesting. The prime minister announced the plans to begin reopening Denmark. Daycares and elementary schools were on the list of first openings. Also attached was a long list of cleaning and social distancing guidelines. Getting prepared was a huge scramble, but I returned to the building to rearrange my room in accordance with the requirements. On April 20th, my school welcomed a small percentage of the PreK to 5th grade classes as not every family was ready to attend right away.
So that means I’m back at work, right?
Actually no. While most my coworkers are back in their classrooms, a handful of the staff is still self-isolating for health reasons. I’m on that list because I’m currently taking medication that affects my immune system. However, this doesn’t mean that I’m on medical leave. I have been given different tasks that allow me to continue working remotely.
What am I doing now then?
Students who are either high risk themselves (or living with a high risk person) are eligible to continue learning online. I was asked by my administration to assist their class teachers by posting online learning engagements. At this moment, I have 7 students across the 3 grade levels. This is a big challenge for me because not only do I have to get to know the students, but I also have to teach content in grade levels that I am completely unfamiliar with. This is going to be adventure.
I am also providing sub plans for my teaching assistant who is covering for me in the classroom. Last week, 4 of our students attended school, but this week the number’s jumping up to 11. My TA has enough on her plate dealing with the guidelines and regulations, so I’m making sure that she doesn’t have to stress about having lesson plans.
So how am I feeling about all of this?
Overall I am incredibly grateful that I have the ability to work remotely. Getting a doctor’s note was a bit of a struggle, but my administration was patient and understanding. I’m also feeling lucky that I have the opportunity to try new things and work with older children. After 7 years in PreK, it’s nice to get a chance to push myself and do something out of my comfort zone. I get to collaborate with teachers I usually never work with, so that’s definitely an added bonus.
I’m also thankful for my partner. I only leave the house to walk the dog or pick up the occasional package (always while wearing a mask). So he’s the one doing the grocery shopping and essential errands. He’s even taken fewer hours at work to reduce his chance of exposure.
I’m mindful of the fact that my situation is overall positive, but I’m still allowing myself to grieve. As far as I know, I will not be returning to the classroom at all this year, and that is a heavy feeling to sit with. I had no idea that when I said goodbye to my class on March 11th, it was possibly the last time I would see them this school year. I miss my students with my whole heart and being away from them for so long is difficult.
I plan on staying connected to my students as best I can. I will be sending weekly videos to my TA so my students can see Ms. Angie in the classroom (even if it’s only virtually). Their families know my health situation and are very understanding, but it’s a hard concept for 4 and 5 year olds to grasp.
And how am I handling my prolonged quarantine?
I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy. We’re finally hitting the part of the year where the weather is beautiful. I hear more people out and about on the streets, and my social media is full of people leaving their homes and exploring the world again (safely of course). But I’m still inside and trying not to get too jealous. Plus the music festival I go to every June was cancelled, and I’m still super sad about that.
Some days I do feel like I’m missing out, but I know that staying home is the best thing I can do for my health. I will probably start venturing out for longer walks with my dog and the occasional afternoon adventure with my partner, but I’m still going to be the girl wearing a mask for the foreseeable future.
What’s the quarantine situation in your part of the world? How are you feeling about things going back to ‘normal’?