I can’t believe how much time has gone by since my last blog post!
Just to catch up: I retired from full-time teaching and started out the year being a teacher-on-call, which I enjoyed immensely. The days go like this: go into the school, find out where the class is, read the classroom or music teacher’s note, find the resources you’ll need, do what the teacher wants you to do for the day, interact, support, read to, play music with/for, instruct and have fun with the (mostly) delightful children, say goodbye to the (mostly) delightful children at the end of the day, then write the teacher a note about what you actually accomplished, and go home! No report cards, no planning, no work at home! What could be better than that?
In January, I flew off to Thailand (the 2nd time in my life that I’ve ever been off the continent!) and had a wonderful time there with a group of crazy, mostly twenty-somethings who were learning about self-actualization and coincidentally doing a lot of partying. Very interesting and educational! Loved the Thai people, loved the food, loved the countryside, the history and the culture; hated the pollution and the garbage and the poverty! I’ll write a separate blog about this. When I got back, I was supposed to go back to Teaching On Call, but those who know me understand that one of my weaknesses is a certain inability to say “no!” So I said “yes” to one temporary teaching contract at my neighbourhood school, for a month, that extended to two months, and then ended up going almost to the end of the school year! I loved it, the school was very grateful and appreciative of my willingness to take the position on AND… I was working WAY more than I had planned. I kept saying, “I have all these things I want to do!” But teachers know this very well: when you’re teaching full time (or close to it), the amount of energy and brain space one has available for extra-curricular activities is minimal. (Unless you’re someone like a music teacher colleague of mine, who is an actively parenting father of two, teaches full-time music, plays in two bands, creates weekly youtube videos, records, etc. etc. Whatever, Lucas TDS!!! 🙂 ) Anyway…. I had a lovely, relaxing summer, played music, went for hikes, went to my favourite place in the world, Hornby Island, and had a great time with my grown-up kids, my daughter’s dog, Lilo, my new grandbaby(!) and myself. I was all ready to get back to my nice, easy life, teaching on call approximately 3 days a week, and working on my projects: marketing my book, writing, playing music, writing songs, doing art, etc.
I got back in the middle of September and took on a 4-day temporary contract which ended up turning into months. I just couldn’t say “no”! They begged me to stay! I told them I could stay until January but I had a trip to Fiji this time, already booked. (I’ll tell you about Fiji in another blog – amazing!!!) Plus, I took on a bunch more piano students (because I thought I’d have lots of time and I love it). Yes, I was working full time. Again! When I got back from Fiji, the position was still there so I said, “yes”. Again. I couldn’t leave them to ANOTHER temporary teacher! They needed me! 🙂
And now this…So here we are, in the time of COVID-19, and I’m learning to teach from home. This has been a VERY steep learning curve, to say the least. I have received probably over 100 different messages in the last couple of weeks, via school email, various TEAM chats, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and via text. (Now where was that message again…?) I’m sending out messages to students via online programs that we’ve asked them to participate in (for Reading, Language Arts and Math). I’m writing a blog for my classroom that I teach Language Arts in, in the mornings, and my music students that I teach in the afternoon. I’m setting up OneNote ClassRoom Notebooks for the students. The other classroom teacher and I are reaching out to the students’ parents via phone (“All circuits are busy; please try your call again later”), and email and we’re receiving emails and phone messages from students’ parents as well, answering our queries about whether they are all physically ok, whether they are in need of basic necessities (some of our families rely on us for breakfast and lunch!), whether they are in need of financial assistance, and whether they have the technology and wifi/internet connection that they need for online school. They have also begun sending me pictures of their children’s work, while we figure out how to connect them to our brand new school-based Blogsites where, when it’s all set up, they should be able to post their work and their questions. I’ve also been on several Zoom/Team meetings, and our class had its first online Zoom meeting today. It was such a great pleasure to actually see their faces and hear their voices again! (I’ve also had a bunch of Zoom piano lessons that have gone fairly well, all things considered).
Are you dizzy yet? I am!
So…It would be an understatement to say that it is all overwhelming! Sigh… This will be a time none of us will ever forget. Ever.
And next year, for sure, no more saying “yes”!!! 🙂 Please remind me if I forget. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately, for some reason. 😉
Over and out (for now)…