topic_interest is exactly classroom
Exposure to covid in the classroomI came across this conversation on a neighborhood app (Nextdoor) of a grandmother pleading for masks and vaccines after learning that one of her grandchildren was exposed to the virus in the classroom. I added a bit of the thread as well to show the different opinions on the matter.
U.S. History ClassroomWhen 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.”
Teachers RockRight before COVID-19 hit my husband made the transition from active duty military to reservist. After eight years we were finally given the gift to settle down and live a "normal" life. January of 202 we moved into our home and three months later we were facing a quarantine. That same in the midst of that my daughter started kindergarten. It was a moment I had thought of for quite some time. In my mind, I would take lots of pictures, walk her to her class and tearfully walk back to my car and having a pity party about my growing girl. Instead, my daughter spent her first day at home in front of a computer while I fought to get into her virtual classroom. For months we dealt with virtual than in class then back to virtual learning as COVID cases peaked. My daughters Kindergarten teacher was the only constant bright light throughout the school year. Through it all she worked tirelessly to make sure the kids had a positive school experience. She went out of her way to make sure the school brought them joy in the midst of the chaotic year, having her in my daughter's life became personal to my family. At the end of the school year she sent out her last newsletter thanking parents but the reality of it is- she was a complete rockstar and we will forever be grateful. I wanted to share her last newsletter in hopes that it reflects an ounce of how difficult this school year was for teachers and how resilient children were.
Classroom NetworkingI have always been a good student. However, I always make sure to have a "homework buddy" in every class that I am. That homework buddy is someone I can ask clarifying questions about coursework, exams, or quizzes, and vice versa. Usually, this study buddy is someone I already know in the class, or I just end up naturally making one. Of course, with online classes replacing in-person lectures, finding a study buddy has been completely different. I would say that I was extremely lucky to find my first study buddy. We met through our class Slack channel. We have been through time-consuming projects, grueling homework practice, and exam preparations...yet we have never met each other. We also only somewhat know what we look like (we both have social media accounts with little pictures). Despite this, I have never felt like we were strangers, and I am pretty positive that we would get along exactly the same way when we met in real life. We were both surprisingly nonchalant and neutral about our personal life details. While this is certainly not the most traditional relationship I've ever made, I view my study buddy the same way as I do to all my other friends. I have also joined group chats for my classes. These chats are fine; everyone is cordial and helpful. I would say none of us are friends, but questions get answered, tips are given, and it is still a beneficial group to be in. I am not sure I could get used to the new way of networking. Next semester, my university is supposed to be back in person. I do miss face-to-face human interaction, so I hope that I can make friends and study partners the traditional way again.
Decorating the “classroom”I LOVE setting up my classroom for the new school year. I take great pride in making my classroom environment welcoming and comfortable. I’ve always felt that having an organized and decorated classroom helps the kids immediately know that you’re committed to them. However, with distance learning, my classroom is the corner of my bedroom. My husband has been working in the office next door since March. My kids have their distance learning set up downstairs, so that left our bedroom or the kids’ rooms. Though at first it seemed really, really strange to teach in the corner of my bedroom, I don’t even think about it anymore. The blank wall behind me though, it was really going to be a problem. I know most people have great success with Zoom backgrounds, but I have a really hard time sitting still, and I learned over the spring that I end up making my arms and head disappear because I fidget and get up and move around too much, so the virtual background just doesn’t work for me. At the very end of July, I went to my classroom for the first (and what would be the only time until November) when it was becoming clear that we might not re-open for in person instruction. When I went to my room to get the materials I needed to plan and digitize my lessons, I grabbed a few of the collage frames that hang in the front of my classroom. I ended up decorating my bedroom wall to emulate what the wall behind my desk at school looks like. It gave some normalcy to an abnormal start. In November, when it sounded like we would be re-opening, I took the pictures back to my classroom and got my room into shape. (That was a stressful day - two masks, a face shield, standing in a room I did not feel safe in and wondering how re-opening could be safe for my kids, and having a huge pit in my stomach knowing that I would not be there if we did re-open, as I had already turned in my paperwork to take a temporary leave if we re-opened). Then the county went into the Purple Tier, and re-opening was postponed. I was relieved, sad, frustrated, excited, a whole mix of contradictory emotions, because the situation was bleak but I was also able to keep teaching. Over Veteran’s Day, since my wall was now blank, I decorated my wall for the holidays. My students even sent me drawings of ornaments they make, sort of a glimmer of when we’re in person and have homeroom door decoration competitions. Winter break came and went and we remained in the Purple Tier, so I decided to redecorate my wall for January with snowflakes that my daughter and I made out of recycled materials. (A LOT of crafting has gone on these last 10 months!) This past weekend, I was startled to realize that this Monday would be the start of February. In a normal year, I make each kid a Valentine. It’s one of those things that is really dorky, but the kids actually love it. I leave a personalized one with a piece of candy on each of their seats. Many of them joke I’m their first or only Valentine. Another little bit of fun lost this year. But I like to stay positive, so I decorated my wall with hearts with their names. It may not be the personalized Valentine I usually make, but it adds some festive fun to our Zoom. I know my days of Distance Learning are coming to an end soon. The good news is our local case rates are declining, but I am anxious. My district is one of the only in the county to opt into the governor’s plan to re-open schools, lured by the promise of money and fearful of declining enrollment. Our neighboring districts have made statements that it is still unsafe and are holding out for teachers to be vaccinated. I am holding out for the same, and am dreading the repercussions that will come with taking a leave. As much as I’d love to cover the wall with shamrocks at the end of this month, I am predicting our schools will re-open by March. If I have my vaccination, I will be there for sure. However, the vaccinations are not rolling out well here, and I fear I will not have access before schools re-open. I think March is going to see me at home, without my students, staring at a blank wall, desperately trying to get a vaccine. But for now, I will find some happiness in the fact that I have already gotten dms and chats from my students joking with me that I am their first Valentine. At least some things can stay the same.
Healthcare Education in the Covid-19 PandemicThese are my students who are training at Northeastern University to become Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) The pandemic has created restrictions that have made training the healthcare providers of tomorrow more challenging than ever before. Students must be in full personal protective equipment including a facemask, faceshield, gown, and gloves. Between faceshield fogging, trouble breathing in the masks during more rigorous physical components to training, and many other obstacles to their learning, the students have shown inspiring levels of resilience. Their strength during these difficult times serves as a constant reminder to me of the ability of the human spirit to overcome any and all challenges, and inspires me to continue to try and find ways to mitigate the effects of the challenges due to the pandemic. Students deserve a proper education and experience, and it is up to educators to match their students efforts in overcoming the barriers that Covid-19 has constructed.
Jessica Fisher Oral History, 2020/10/03Graduate student at ASU, Angelica S Ramos interviews mother of a new born baby. In this interview she discussed the struggles with prenatal care and her experience with birth during COVID. Fisher also discusses family support as a new mother amidst the pandemic and how her interactions with her family has changed. She mentions her worries with being high risk for contraction and how she copes with her worries. She also talks about her work as a teacher and how much that environment has changed for her and her students. In this interview, Fisher also talks about her close relationship with her grandmother who lived in assisted living and how their relationship has been forced to change. Lastly, she talks about her hopes for the future.
Inside an In-Person Virtual classroomThese are six photographs I took of objects in my education classroom at St. Mary's University-San Antonio. My education course is the only course that I am taking in person. The classroom environment is very different from that of a pre-pandemic classroom. The biggest differences are the number of students present in the classroom and the seating layout. I am one of two, sometimes three, students who attend the class in person. We are only allowed to sit in socially distanced seats marked by a brown paper rectangle; all other seats are required to be empty. Most of the cleaning takes place both before and after students arrive and leave class. My professor uses the disinfectant spray and wipes pictured here to clean the tables. Included also in these photographs are the instructions for using the disinfectant in both English and Spanish.
Child Struggles with Distance LearningTell us a story; share your experience. Describe what the object or story you've uploaded says about the pandemic, and/or why what you've submitted is important to you. This story is important to me because while I do not have kids, I believe education is so important, especially the quality of education they are receiving. I have many friends that are teachers who are struggling with distance learning themselves and have also questioned the quality of education that children are receiving now as they believe any one-on-one help they would be able to give in a classroom is unavailable now to students who already struggle with learning in a regular classroom setting. It is difficult enough for adults to be self-motivated with online education and for kids this has been deemed to be extremely difficult.
MW1: Covid University: I: The Chat BoxThe pandemic forced us all to take online classes. We all miss the traditional classroom setting. But we all remember how awkward it was to ask questions. One thing about zoom is you can ask a question or make a comment in the chat box. This is a feature I hope get added to the in person class experience. It adds so much to the productivity and the curiosity of student. Being able to just add a question into the chat log, then the teacher peeks at it and answers when they have time or if its immediately relevant. No classroom disruption, no being shy, just unadulterated curiosity.
Abandoned Student BelongingsWhen the Princeton Joint Unified School District campuses unexpectedly closed on March 17, 2020, students were unable to collect personal belongings left in lockers and desks. As a school employee, I was tasked with collecting these items, placing them in plastic bags, and making them available for pick up. From the well-kept lockers of eager freshmen to the trash-filled desks of fifth graders, removing student belongings felt like an invasion of privacy, looting personal spaces thought to be their own. These belonging bags contain much more than physical items, however. They contain the last sense of normalcy for these students, the final laughs shared before an extended summer vacation, and the unfounded security in knowing that tomorrow will be just another school day.