A New Kind of Hard

Every time I think I have pandemic teaching figured out, a new surprise rears its head. I know I am not alone when I say that I am tired. I am tired and I’m very disillusioned. I’m a late career teacher (6 more after this year) and my retirement pension has me locked in for the roller coaster ride… but some days I really dream about what it would be like to NOT be in the classroom right now.

This year, I anticipated some difficulty. How could there not be adaptations to make and new legislation to follow?? But I don’t think I was prepared for how much like last year it would be… with two notable exceptions… last year COVID still shut schools down and last year we had extra planning time.

My room is full of coughing kids. I know that some are just allergies, colds, seasonal things… or are like me, my asthma makes me cough… but some turn up COVID positive the next day and we just keep right on trucking at school! We are so lucky because when they are positive, we have the ability to bring them into class on Zoom but… last year we had a lot of remote students and we had extra planning time. This year, we just roll on with our normal schedule so I never feel like I am caught up on school work.

I don’t have a solution. I think my district, and I hope yours too, is doing absolutely everything possible to make the best of a terrible situation. I just wanted you to know that if you’re overwhelmed, you’re not alone.

I keep thinking/hoping/praying/wishing that by second semester, we will have exhausted every possible new “hard” scenario in teaching and we get to have a smooth and easy spring… Until then, here’s some good vibes for good days in your classroom!

Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas" and "Bananas" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at gmail.com.

7 thoughts

  1. Hi Carrie, I can relate so much to what you are saying! I am longing for stability. Where I teach in Canada our case numbers are very low in schools, so I have not been impacted by students missing or having to pivot to Zoom or other digital deliveries. At least not yet, since we have just started back….
    But I really wanted to tell you that I am using your Unit ‘Educarse para Superarse’ with my IB students right now and we are loving it! I have used your novels before but have never purchased any of your TPT units. It is fantastic, so well put together, with great resources, and has led to great discussions about valuing education and our privilege of living in a country where we have such widespread access to quality public schools. I fell in love with the song Aprender a quererte and this led me to your unit. Thank you so much for your inspiring work!

  2. Thank you for putting this out there. It is nice to know that others are feeling the same. I have 3 years after this year, and sadly, am wishing it was sooner. I can’t get caught up. Kids out with COVID or sick and we do NOT offer Zoom this year at all to them. So…that puts them, and us, even further behind. Just frustrating.

  3. Hi Carrie! Thanks for this post – I think a lot of messages that I’ve gotten this year is that the “worst” is over and now we can start this year excited and energized and things will be “better”. Unfortunately, it feels a lot like last year in terms of instability, but now add in that we have no energy reserves to take it on. I completely understand where you are coming from and I just wanted to say that I can relate! Hang in there and do what brings you joy.

  4. This is so spot on. I’m feeling all of this right now as well. Thanks for the reassuring words! (…that I’m not alone) Hoping we can all feel a little more “caught up” soon.

  5. Carrie-
    I have been following your blog for years and somehow did not see this post until now. I think the topic is probably why. You are spot on. Last year (and the couple of months at the end of 2020) was scary but this is harder. In Massachusetts, we are not allowed to offer Zoom or any hybrid lessons to students who are out. But kids are out a lot. I feel exhausted because once I finish getting make-up work from students from one week there is a whole other set to get from this week. It never ends. I too am at the end of my career. I have 8-10 more years tops. I have started dreaming about what is next. But your more recent post has reminded me why I teach- it is about making the language learning fun. I have to get back to more of that. Thanks for reminding me about it. Time for me to search again for more fun ideas to work with my students or pull out some of my old ones.

    Kelly Ochoa

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