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  • Writer's pictureJ94

It's Time! Back in the Classroom after Covid: Enthusiastic or Apprehensive??

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task.

- Haim Ginott -

The above quote has proven to be even more relevant during this pandemic, especially considering the digital demands on teachers. And now that we are seeing a return to the classroom it seems like this sentiment remains equally relevant!

What about YOU? Are you on your way back into the classroom? Or maybe you are already there?

All over the world, teachers are headed back to their classrooms. However, what that looks like and when that will actually happen depends on where you are on the planet. Countries, states, districts, regions, cities, etc. have different rules, laws, and approaches. There is no consensus on the how and when. And there is no real consensus on how teachers are expected to adapt to their transition from online to classroom, virtual to hybrid, asynchronous to synchronous, or a mixture of all of these!!

I find this to be the most trying time I’ve experienced. This is the end of round two of the long-term lockdown. After round one, I was apprehensive. I felt like an extrovert turned introvert and was getting rather comfortable with that. I was not certain how I would react to being back at school. Luckily, the apprehension dissipated rather quickly. By the summer was over, I was again enthusiastic and things seemed to have gotten back to some sense of “normal” faster than anticipated.

But this time around … I’m not so sure that history will repeat itself.

Where I live, we are slowly getting back into the classroom in adherence to a comprehensive reopening schedule. As a high school teacher, my turn is coming up, and I don’t know what to think.

After I factor out the concerns about contracting the virus, the confidence in the testing procedures that are in place, and the knowledge that it will soon be my turn to get vaccinated – I STILL find myself conflicted, uncertain, and somewhat apprehensive.

My brain. My heart. My gut.

My brain is telling me that this is a good thing. It’s time to get back! It’s time to connect with my students and colleagues again. It’s time to salvage whatever learning there is to salvage. It’s time to get things ready for the end of the school year, prepare for exams, and start planning for next year. It’s time to return to normalcy (whatever that may be) and consistency (whatever that may look like).

My heart is telling me that it’s more than time for my students. Many of them are in dire need of social contact, personal contact, and emotional contact with their classmates. My students, along with students around the world, are feeling more and more isolated, apathetic, and hopeless. In addition to this, many students are suffering from a loss of learning, leading them to be behind on their learning targets. So, it is indeed time to turn those devastating statistics around and get the students back! Fortunately, there is a lot of focus on helping the students in this process.

My gut, however, is telling me that it is not time! Even though there is a social and emotional element for teachers that is similar to our students, I don’t know if I am prepared for the extent of what “going back” entails. The conversations about reopening seem to focus on EITHER the needs of the students OR the needs of the schools (rules, COVID-testing, scheduling, dos-and-don’ts, meetings, curriculum, exams, etc.). What the conversations do NOT focus on are the needs of the teachers. What will all of this mean for teachers? What is being done to help teachers with THEIR reentry into the classroom? How are teachers supposed to navigate EVERYTHING from hand sanitizing to social distancing, from lesson limitations to classroom restrictions, from rule enforcement to everyday empathy, and more without a comprehensive reentry plan?

There should be reentry plan for EVERYONE. And since there’s not, I’m sad to conclude that apprehension feels stronger than enthusiasm.

But, what about YOU??? How are YOU feeling? Are YOU feeling excited and enthusiastic or afraid and apprehensive?

What is your brain telling you? What is your heart telling you? What is your gut telling you?

I know that there is no perfect solution for getting back into the classroom. So, even if you’re not sure how about you feel about it, here are few things to keep in mind as you head back into YOUR post-COVID classroom:

Keep it simple!

Keep it student-focused!

Keep it relevant!!

Spend more time reconnecting with your students, reestablishing relations, and less time lesson planning. Get my 5 tips for post-Covid lesson planning.

And, If you are feeling a bit more apprehensive than you’d like, let’s talk!

Always remember that YOU are an ENCHANTED teacher!

This topic has been on my mind for quite a while, but wasn’t sure how to approach it. The following article captured some of my thoughts and inspired me to finally write this.

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