Like all of you, I am in the middle of locking down and sheltering at my house to protect myself, loved ones, and strangers from getting sick or even dying from COVID-19. On Sunday, we learned schools were going to close for at least three weeks, starting immediately. Monday and Tuesday we planned a whole new digital delivery system with almost no guidance. We prepped materials for parents to take home. We figured out how to use Google Classroom. We filmed ourselves teaching lessons and greeting the kids. And today we launched remote learning. I spent the very long day responding to parents’ concerns and questions, cheerleading kids and parents to just do their best and try again tomorrow, and packing up my car with possible things I would need to teach from home for the long-haul. It seems very possible that the three weeks will be extended.
I’m exhausted. My anxiety levels are through the roof. And I’m scared. I’m scared for my kids, who will miss the structure, support, and friendships of school. I’m scared for my family and friends who are at high risk for getting very ill from this virus. And I’m selfishly scared about being home alone for a long time, without a hug. I know I can chat digitally. My co teacher and I are going to meet online every day for an hour, in addition to multiple texts and phone calls I’m sure will happen. I will talk with family every day, hopefully with my Portal. But it still isn’t the same.
I’m worried I’ll fall out of a routine and start shirking my responsibilities at work. That I’ll eat too much and move too little. That I’ll fall into bad habits and struggle to take care of myself. That’s I’ll move backwards.
I’m so tired I don’t know what day it is. I don’t want to lose “normal.” I don’t want to lose the progress I’ve made since X’s abandonment.
My plan is to stick to a schedule that includes a lot of self-care, including a daily walk and pilates. I plan to practice gratitude every day, and say what I’m grateful for when the anxiety rises. (I did it many times today.) . I plan to do art and play my ukulele. I plan to read and write and cook healthy food. And I plan to get creative with my teaching online. I think the kids will easily lose motivation if I don’t mix things up. So I want to do weekly themes, take them outside with me to study trees. Set up science experiments with them and host morning meetings and digital lunch visits on Fridays. I want to use this as an opportunity to get creative in my teaching again.
I can make this work, just like I made the last year and a half work. I’ve got it in me to push through this. I know there will be an end, even if I don’t know when. I can do this. So can you. If you’re lucky enough to be home with others, hug them every day. And check in on those of us that are alone. Sending you warm wishes for health and safety. Take care of each other!
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