This Year – April Means Back To School

I can’t believe we are going back to school in April. We’ve been off for an entire calendar year. We missed most of the second semester last year and most of the current school year. (Teachers think in school years more than calendar years.)

Overnight we were forced to instantly become experts at online schooling. Our norm disappeared leaving us wondering how to help our students. We immediately faced a myriad of problems. One by one we conquered the issues. Our devotion to our pupils meant we once again proved to be masters in flexibility. With the assistance of our erudite co-workers, we pushed forward with amazing success. Our hope was that we could keep the kids engaged with the learning process without the physical classroom.

On one hand, I have happily modified what was my norm. I must admit, I have learned to covet my time at home. I enjoy not having a commute any longer. I don’t want to be antagonistic about this new situation, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I am worried. Even with the plexiglass barrier installed for my protection, I will still feel the need to come home and shower immediately. Covid has left all of us with deep seated fears.

On the other hand, I miss the real interaction with my students. I’ve never met my class of 2020-2021 in person. I am unsure of how the zoom teaching has influenced their impression of me. The reverse is also true. I have been unable to get a real feel for their personalities with this virtual teaching. It will be nice to have half my students one day and the other half the next. A small class will hopefully help with getting to know them quicker while being safer at school.

April will be like the first day of school in many ways. I know my emotions will be all over the place. I will need to take many deep breaths to prepare for this new world. We will begin with our typical teacher’s meeting in the library before school starts. The principal will probably do her rah rah speech with naïve comments about how everything will be great.

One thing is for sure, I will not be accepting any apples from my students as I have in the past.

This work of fiction was written for these daily prompts: Three Things Challenge (disappeared/unable) ,  Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (myriad)  (emotions), Ragtag Daily Prompt (impression), Word of the Day Challenge (flexibility) (erudite) , Your Daily Word Prompt (covet), The Daily Spur (home), (antagonistic) (apple) and MMA Word Of The Day (shower) (library).

 

 

Fandango’s Provocative Question- A Teacher’s Viewpoint

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Fandango gives us a question to ponder that has multiple layers.

Here is his question:

 

Do you believe that students should be required to return to school for the new school year? If you are a parent, are you at all concerned about sending your children to school? Or are you relieved to get the little rugrats out of your hair?

I am a parent of adult children. My children are teachers. I am a spouse of a teacher. I am a retired teacher. Most of my friends are teachers. I have grandchildren in elementary, middle, and high school. I have a vested interest in this topic from multiple aspects. 

Yesterday I was involved in a long conversation online about why we should not return to schools. While the cases of COVID for younger people are not USUALLY as severe, who is willing to risk the life of their child?  What about the safety of the adults? I have family members who have multiple comorbidities. I have no desire to lose them. I am on the side of safety first, safety first, safety first. 

We have a politician who wants to bully everyone into doing what he wants so he can pretend he has things under control. Things are not OK. People are dieing in mass numbers. Families are being broken and destroyed. He has shown no remorse for his part in all this. I don’t understand why anyone would listen to him. 

I don’t have the answer for parents who need to work. I understand their plight. The job of the school is to educate the young minds. Teachers had to step up and remodel their teaching. They did so. They are working hard to find ways to reach the kids and involve them in their learning. It is a learning curve for everyone.

To force the adults in the education field to risk their lives, and those of their families is asking too much. IMHO

There are some teachers willing and able to go back to school. That is great. But then you need to look at the office workers, aides, custodians, admins, and support staff to see if they are willing and able to risk their lives. It is not a simple matter. 

I ask you, if it  is not safe to go to a movie, a bar, a theater, a gym, why is it safe to be in an enclosed classroom with students for an extended period of time. All those kids deserve safety. The adults, especially in middle and high school, are exposed to 150 to 190 students a day. They are being exposed to every person those students have come in contact with. One recommendation is that teachers teach in full PPE. I can’t imagine this doing much for the interactions with the students.

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• If a teacher tests positive for COVID-19 are they required to quarantine for 2-3 weeks? Is their sick leave covered, paid?

• If that teacher has 5 classes a day with 30 students each, do all 150 of those students need to then stay home and quarantine for 14 days?

• Do all 150 of those students now have to get tested? Who pays for those tests? Are they happening at school? How are the parents being notified? Does everyone in each of those kids’ families need to get tested? Who pays for that?

• What if someone who lives in the same house as a teacher tests positive? Does that teacher now need to take 14 days off of work to quarantine? Is that time off covered? Paid?

• Where is the district going to find a substitute teacher who will work in a classroom full of exposed, possibly infected students for substitute pay?

• Substitutes teach in multiple schools. What if they are diagnosed with COVID-19? Do all the kids in each school now have to quarantine and get tested? Who is going to pay for that?

• What if a student in your kid’s class tests positive? What if your kid tests positive? Does every other student and teacher they have been around quarantine? Do we all get notified who is infected and when? Or because of HIPAA regulations are parents and teachers just going to get mysterious “may have been in contact” emails all year long?

 

BREAKING: Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered several sectors statewide to once again shut down Monday amid an increasingly concerning coronavirus surge.

Statewide –

🚫Bars, both indoor and outdoor, will be forced to close down statewide.
🚫Restaurants must cease indoor operations. Outdoor dining and takeout are still allowed.
🚫All indoor operations at wineries, tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and cardrooms.

In counties on the state’s watch list — including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties –

🚫Gyms, hair salons, barbershops, other personal care services, indoor malls, offices in non-critical sectors, and places of worship.

Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered several sectors to once again shut down Monday amid an increasingly concerning coronavirus surge.

 

Day 34 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Fall – There is always something to be grateful for.

Today I am grateful  for fall. The weather is finally starting to change to a chilly 70 degrees and a high of 74 degrees. This is my idea of a wonderful fall. These temperatures are my friend. My body is happy to not be too cold or too warm. Fall is the time of new beginnings. I like the fact things are starting anew.

rosh hashanah

                                                                                With Rosh Hashanah bringing the Jewish New Year I was grateful wishing those I love a year of good health. The prayers and blessings of Rosh Hashanah are said to set the tone for the entire year. Fall means fresh beginnings.

I remember in my youth reading so many wonderful things as the new school year began. it meant opportunities to read many books not abundant in my home. 

 A fall favorite:  BY John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
      For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
   Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
      Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
   Steady thy laden head across a brook;
   Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
      Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
   And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
   Among the river sallows, borne aloft
      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
   The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
Such eloquence and loveliness. I could read this poem again and again, still seeing something new. It makes me think that while some things come to an end, others are just beginning. It is OK to say goodbye to to the last season that has passed. Some things need to stay in the past.
Come_Back   tired 
Fall is that beginning to me in so many ways.  Fall is time to look forward to another school year with bright eyed students eager to grow up and enter into middle school. While we now begin school at the end of summer, fall is when the kids really come into their own. They know the expectations, they know how to succeed, and they know what is important here at the “big school.” They went from being “big men on campus” at the elementary school to the “newbies” at the middle school. By fall they are really in the groove.  Days are easier for all of us. No more getting lost on our rotating schedule, much less forgetting to bring work to school, and gratefully my NO NAME box is usually empty by fall.
Hey-Girl
The beginning of school this year is a little bittersweet. It is my hope that I can get my ducks in a row and retire this year. After 35 years of teaching in public school, I still enjoy the newness of  beginning the school year.  But the reality is that I am more tired than once was the case. It is more difficult to ready my classroom now. And sadly, I still don’t know how to stop spending money on things to help my students in my classes.
Meme_Office
There are some things I shall not miss. I will be grateful next fall when I am able to eat when I want to, use the restroom when I want to, and not have any grading to do EVER. I don’t know how my body will respond to not having the Pavlovian response to the bell ringing. 
While here in my neck of the woods there aren’t four totally distinct seasons, fall is still a time of new beginnings. I am grateful for the leaves on the ground, the bare deciduous trees, and the grass finally turning green.  It is a time to actually get out some long sleeved shirts, some flannel PJs, and maybe eventually a sweater. Fall allows for more wardrobe variety than any other season. You can add or subtract clothes as the day suits you, at least until the next heat wave. So today I am grateful for fall. I have worn long sleeves for two days in a row. My allergies are not flaring. My classroom temperature is just right. I am grateful that a new season is in full bloom.
happy-fall
                                     I can’t wait for Thanksgiving.