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Home is Where the Classroom Is

Here we all are. All in the same sinking boat, waving but not drowning, or is that the other way around?

Either way, we’re all doing the same: teaching from home, trying to manage our own anxieties and stresses, with the added struggle of trying to teach from a place which many of us have never had to teach from.

But here we are. Doing what we do, and trying to navigate emails, LMS messages, frustrated colleagues, worried, stressed, jaded and/or apathetic students. I’m lucky in the fact that I have an amazing student teacher who is taking the brunt of a lot of this for me for the next couple of weeks, in order for her graduate on time and actually try to find a real job next year. She’s getting most of the messages, she’s leading the Zoom classes, the video mini-lessons and the grading. I.AM.LUCKY. I also do not have children, so am not having to wade through that added struggle, burden, joy, etc.

However, I still have one class and the bulk of that class has my Pages students in it from earlier in the year. Women’s Studies (the semester before was Mythology) is my only “teaching” responsibility for the time being. And considering it’s an elective, they are pretty engaged with this new way of learning.

We had our first Zoom meeting today. It was wonderful. I’m not crying, that’s just dust or a hair in my eye. We didn’t even get to the mini-lesson today. It didn’t really matter in the end.

We got to discuss our frustrations, our worries and got to see other humans! It was lovely.

At one point, a parent of one of my students video-bombed, hugged her daughter and looked into the camera and said “Thank you for checking in with her and everyone else in her class. You guys are doing a great job…” Stop it, now I am crying!

In this particular class, I have many seniors who are not going to New York, will most likely not be having their Prom and probably won’t even get to walk with everyone. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what other issues some of them are facing (parents furloughed, loved ones getting ill, some of their parents working in the medical field or are essential workers). That list could go on and on.

Yeah, we didn’t have a proper lesson today. But nine of the twelve students who were able to show up had 45 minutes little bit of normality.

Jess Haney, West-Liberty Salem HS, Pages educator-in-residence

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