Teacher Blog

Day 1 – March 19th, 2020 – Life Changes

Follow along for daily updates on how a small town WI teacher is handling the Covid-19 crisis.

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I woke up today to my alarm like I would any other Thursday of March, though this time something was very very different. Scratch that, some THINGS were very very different. Let’s count the life changes:

  • Woke up 30 min later than usual, with no rush to get ready
  • Walked out the bedroom entryway with no door on the hinges
  • Put on leggings and a nice sweater top (I NEVER wear just leggings to work unless I have a dress to cover my behind)
  • Made coffee and put it in a cup rather than a to-go mug
  • Packed no breakfast or lunch
  • Turned up the heat in the house
  • Sat at my dining room table, opened up my Chromebook, took a long breath, and waited.

On their own, these events don’t seem all that strange. Well, maybe the no door situation, but that can be explained later. But this was a very strange, day for me.

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First day teaching online

See, today was my first official day as a full online teacher of sorts. I say of sorts because my district is still trying to figure out where to go from here. This weekend the governor of Wisconsin closed all schools until April 6th in order to curb the spread of Covid-19. I can’t say I was surprised by the move since many of the states surrounding WI had already done the same. That being said, I know that every district is handling things differently. I had already been a part of or joined a few Facebook groups to try and prepare myself to teach fully online, something I felt pretty prepared to do.

Life has had its changes so fast that it is difficult for my administration to keep up. Teachers were to report to school on Monday and had a morning meeting where we went over why the district was closing down. We were told to clean up and grade in our rooms until the afternoon when hopefully they would have a plan.

We had just come out of spring break so my department already had everything graded. What should we do now?

Well, the Social Studies Department watched Midway. Great movie. Highly recommend.

Over the next few days, we received many plans and many changes. I would like to emphasize how well my school and staff have been able to roll with the punches. Things have been changing on day to day if not hour to hour basis! To get a glimpse of what we went through, here is a brief list of items we were told to do that then got changed.

Our to-do list

  • Don’t plan anything, we don’t know what the plan is yet
  • Create a learning plan from Wed the 18th until April 6th. Focus students on completing missing work since the term-end is April 2nd.
  • The term has been extended until April 10th so students can catch up on work when they return to school
  • You cannot teach the students anything new, keep them at their current level
  • Enrichment activities only please, nothing can be entered into Skyward
  • Only missing work can be entered into Skyward
  • Ok, College courses can be entered into Skyward
  • Ok, yes you can preview new work, but it cannot be graded
  • Students will be able to come to school Wednesday to pick up books and paper copies of assignments. You cannot have contact with them…
  • Ok, you can have your room open, but tell them to stay in the doorway

The school has been closed indefinitely, keep planning until April 6th and we will reevaluate then…

Hard hits…

I can deal with confusion and chaos pretty well, but that last one hit me hard. This was a part of life I did not expect to see so many changes.

Today was my first day out of my classroom. I cannot return to my building. I packed up everything I could possibly need and shut my door not knowing when I will be able to return.

Overall, I have a positive attitude on this situation. Mostly because I know so much of it is out of my control. I may not be able to control this virus, its spread, or the rate at which people purchase toilet paper, but I can control my attitude. This will be stressful, it will be confusing, and it will be though, but I will come out the other side a better teacher, a better wife, a better fur baby mom. That is one thing that I can control.

Oh, before I forget there are positives in this chaos. I don’t currently have a door to my bedroom because it has been moved to the “office” – which is more like an open half room. Yesterday my husband and I adopted a kitten from the local humane society. Her name is Cinder and we are letting her slowly get used to the house and us before we introduce her to her sister, Minnie. Since it looks like I will be home for the foreseeable future, Cinder will be a welcome distraction to remind me of all the good things in this world.

What life changes have you experienced during this time?

Have a great day! – Mrs. Pettit

Interested in how I taught online in Spring of 2020, click here to find out more!

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