U.S. History Classroom

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U.S. History Classroom

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When I came home from my last deployment in December 2019, I began to look for teaching jobs- I was for the first time preparing for the teaching job market. Suddenly, when Covid-19 hit the streets, most business and shops closed their doors and were only open for carry-out. In May 2020, I was worried because most school corporations announced that they would presume classes virtually or through a mix of hybrid days that would consists of both synchronous and asynchronous learning for the first portion of the school year. I thought that this would be a learning curve for me if I ended up getting a position. By August 2020, I got a position as an 11th-grade high school teacher in my hometown. Before the bell rang on 03 August 2020, I put the rubber gloves on that the school’s office gave me and sprayed each desk down with bleach. The tight latex gloves did not fit my hand properly but worked for its purpose. The disinfectant left an aroma in the air, similar to a hospital. Brinnnnng, the bell sounded, and the students began marching into the building as I watched them from my window. My forehead began to bead up with sweet (I was nervous for my first day). Then, I put on my mask and stood outside my door. As I waited at the door, I remembered the old days when I was a student at that same school, I was now a teacher. Back then, the hallways were filled with my peers, there were lots of hugging and other high schoolers interaction going on. Everywhere I turned, my peers were smiling and excited to share summer stories. In a blink of eyes, when I looked at the hallways, my peers were no longer there. Neither was the high schooler me. Now, I look through the hallways and it is filled with faceless students. The unnatural phenomena brought forth by Covid-19. The wearing of a mask in the U.S. society is unnatural. The students tried to stay six feet away and tried not make physical contact with anyone. The masks covered their faces, and many wore gloves to open their lockers. As I greeted my students entering my class first period, they seemed happy to be in school in-person since all surrounding corporations had announced they would have online instruction. As they seated, they soon realized that each desk was coated in residues from the cleaning products. I then went to the front of my class and tried to write my name on the board. The marker streaked the board. The cleaning products from wiping each room down from the cleaning staff had left a clear coating that made it impossible to write on. This was a common theme for each class that entered my room. By the end of the day, the room was filled with body and cleaning supplies odors. The coating on the board ruined my marker. My hands shriveled from the gloves, and my ears were red and irritated from the mask. I thought to myself, “this is the new norm now. I must get used to it, so students do not feel overwhelmed.”

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This item was submitted on June 30, 2021 by Robert Lynn using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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