Saturday, April 24, 2021

Saying Goodbye To My Virtual Classroom

This past week I got new marching orders. From now until the end of the school year I am going to be teaching face to face in the classroom five days a week, as opposed to two. This weekend it suddenly hit me: I have perhaps taught my last class from home.

I have used four different spaces in my home as a classroom in the past year, all depending on availability and who was at home at the time. When it's been warm I have preferred our screened-in back porch. When I am here and my kids are too I've used either my office nook at the top of the stairs, or the guest bedroom if it was especially loud in the house. On those rare days when I was home alone I would use the dining room table, with our beautiful glassed-in cherry wood bookcase as a background. 

Gone are the days of frantically preparing lunch for my children and desperately trying to keep them on task while I had my own work to do. Gone are the days as well of taking my laptop to the breakfast table at 7AM, the only hope I had of processing all of the mountains of work that needed to be done that day.

I will miss having a commute of one minute, and that is all I will miss. Parenting and teaching simultaneously is a nearly impossible task. It's also just really hard for me to concentrate on my work when I'm at home. Everything took more time to do, and while at home 11-12 hour work days were pretty regular. 

The blurring of work and personal life has also been giving me a headache. A little compartmentalization is a good thing. I remember back to this fall when I watched the webcast of my aunt's funeral in Texas between teaching classes on my back porch. I was bawling my eyes out with my kids nagging me for attention while checking the clock to see when I had to be back in the classroom. I should have taken a personal day, but that just seemed weird considering I was already at home.

Leaving the virtual classroom behind is a reminder to me of the sacrifices and adjustments I have been forced to make over the past year. I despair thinking of how many of them will be made permanent. Every day I powered through a ridiculous amount of work while being my children's cook, nurse, and teacher's aide was a victory for the bosses. They could be oh so pleased that their employees didn't abandon them. We do it for the kids and not for the money, and I worry that makes us suckers. 

So goodbye, virtual classroom. As exhausting as teaching hybrid is, I hope I can avoid you forever.


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