Well Hello, School Year! We are finally here again. Welcome structure to our days. I reflect on where I am today. What day is it during this pandemic? Is it over yet? And who declares when a pandemic is really over? One of my good friends got Covid again at her Back to School Night. She said that she didn’t show many symptoms this time and her principal asked her to mask up and keep on teaching. It was her first week back to school.
Covid. We are all sick of talking about it, but I really want to reflect a bit to share because maybe someday a teacher in the future with read my meanderings and glean a little bit of insight into the history or herstory of what is happening today. In short, teachers are figuring it out moment by moment. With that, we are ‘teacher tired’ like how we typically are at the end of the school year, but it is only the first month.
Meh. Go, go, go! We are in a hustle culture! Mask up and go!
At the end of the school year last year, I went to a training and a whole bunch of us special education teachers got Covid. I wore my mask and only took it off for meals and group pics. I felt weird about wearing my mask so much, but shouldn’t have been afraid of the social side eyes from my none masked teacher friends. At dinner I took it off, but should have eaten in the hotel room. That’s when I think I may have gotten it. One of the teachers at our dinner table had Covid. ‘Cheers! Raise a glass of well earned wine and drink up your Covid.’
It was so weird. My nurse practitioner said that I had delirium. Delirium is often my friend, but not that time. My fever and blood pressure were so high that my nurse practitioner said he could send me to the hospital. I have asthma which I got from when I taught in a off-gassing portable classroom. It was scary to see fear in my nurse practitioner’s eyes as he was treating me for Covid. I could tell that I was not okay. I didn’t want to get him or his staff sick either. He worked to help me by giving me a nebulizer to help me breathe better.
The teacher training was two and a half hours from our home. My husband went on the out of town training trip with me. He also got Covid. That was particularly hard because I felt this sense of shame that I may have been the one who gave him Covid. We also went to visit my mother-in-law on the trip. We masked up as we visited her assisted living facility. Thankfully, we did because we tested positive for Covid two days later. Gratefully, my mother-in-law did not get Covid. Whew! However, I still felt horrible that I probably was the one who gave my husband Covid. We were down for the count for two weeks. It was my first couple weeks of summer. However, my dear husband had to take off work and missed two weeks of pay. Not fun!
All the while, we had just adopted our adorable puppy named Fozzie Bear. Yes, after The Muppets. As a kid, I was a huge Muppets fan ad used to collect the puppets. Fozzie is a sweet Shepweiler. He wanted to play but we were hit hard with Covid. I remember laying on the couch and Fozzie brought me his favorite toy and put it under my pillow. Sweetness.
I slept most of my summer.So that’s my Covid story. Now August is here.
This school year, I am a founding teaching for a hybrid school. It is a brand new school. That is virtual and in-person. Students have a flex option. I am teaching middle school art this year. I love it so far! It is affiliated with a university and it is nice to be respected as a teacher. Plus,as an artist and it feels good to connect with the arts again! Indeed, It is time for healing. I am totally burnt out on the paperwork from special education and needed a break. I can and still do teach students with special abilities, but now I can take more of a Humanistic approach, rather than a Behavioristic approach that is shoved at us special ed teachers on how to teach.
Wow, I just realized that I am the run-on sentence queen. Just going with my free associations to get my thoughts on paper. I have come to the conclusion while in reclusion that editing isn’t for everyone. In that, sometimes our process is just as important as the product. Often times it is more important. My writing is a work in process. If I spend too much time polishing it, I wouldn’t share it. Hence, I meander.
In art, we are working on self portraits. That is totally tricky. It is hard to frame up oneself. I am by nature an introvert. I have to work at being perceived as an extravert (i.e. teacherly on all the time) and frankly, it is exhausting!
As an amateur glitch artist, I have been glitchifying self portraits. I took this selfie from my teacher YouTube or was it a Zoom? Or Loom? Each day I fragment the pixels with each carefully designed lesson. I talk myself through learning new platforms and I feel like I am talking to myself more and more. Vygotsky. Yes. I go from bored to ah-ha! My voice is scratchy. The days are blending together in a whirl of a blur – It’s Tuesday. Hello School Year!