... but a Few Good Things

Recently  I wrote a post lamenting distance teaching and learning, as a working mom.

Spoiler alert: it has maybe gotten a tiny bit better, maybe, but I'm exhausted, overwhelmed, and when people ask me how I'm doing I often reply, "I want to die" with a crying emoji and a laughing one. I miss the old days of teaching in the classroom and shipping your own child off to be dealt with by someone else all day- the somewhat forced cheer below does not replace the dumpster fire we're all trying to contend with. 

I also said that I was a realistic optimist in the post, so I've been trying to find some of the positives. It hasn't been easy, lemme tell ya. But we all know the research that has been done about gratitude and all the warm fuzzies it can give you. 

So, here we are, two weeks in of teaching from a distance and supervising my first-grader doing the same, and I've managed to drudge up some of the good parts:

1. I have fully (and happily) committed to a full face of makeup, hair done, dress clothes on, and maybe even some accessories. What I'm not wearing? Shoes. A slip. A sweater (my classroom was a freezer).

2. Not commuting! I am spending nearly two hours less in the car every day, which means no expenses for gas or car wear-and-tear. 

3. My students are replying to ALL THE THINGS. I write "good job" on an assignment? They write "thank you." I tell them they're missing something? They respond "I'm sorry, I'll get it in!" I make a joke about something they add? They "lolol" at me. It's going to take me ages to learn their names and faces, but I enjoy the written interactions (my email box is VERY full, all the time, though).

4. I've already lost a few pounds, just because this new schedule has really ruined my impromptu pantry visits. I also haven't been baking a ton. 

5.  I thrive on efficiency and schedules- I've had to really flex those muscles and create something that ensures Sawyer and I are where we should be, doing what we should be doing, at the right time (there are a lot of alarms programmed on my Fitbit, let's just say). Plus there's the puppy and her 2951235 bathroom trips outside a day. 

6. Meetings at my school are once a week, whether staff, professional development, or department. We still have them, but they're on meets/zoom and just way more efficient. Much better!

7. Over Meets or Zoom no one is going to notice if I have a flaky patch on my cheek, I accidentally have a Diet Coke splatter on my shirt, or if my eye shadow isn't blended perfectly (why yes, yes I am as self-conscious as the teenagers I teach).


9. I don't have to guess how much water or Diet Coke I need to take with me for the day- it's all there, in the fridge.

10. No more dealing with copy machines! If I had a dollar every time I had to swear at those things and threaten violence I could retire. And not only that, I don't have to deal with running out of copies, forgetting to make copies, or making the wrong copies.

11. I have had to force myself to learn Google Classroom and use the Drive, which, as a semi-ludite, I had resisted hard. And now here I am, scheduling assignments, linking my AERIES gradebook up to the grading I do in Google Classroom, and having my kids do breakout rooms in Zoom. Tech whiz I will never be, but I have improved greatly. 

12. This has also forced me to help Sawyer become more technologically literate. I bought him a cheap laptop (thankfully, as his district ran out of devices) and he is getting better and better each day with using the touch-pad and navigating the assignments his teacher puts in Google Classroom. He is learning to use Zoom, has gotten more familiar with certain aspects of the keyboard, and can work the controls of the videos his teachers send, as well. 

13. Let's be honest- there are people at all workplaces who you'd prefer not seeing. I don't have a burning hatred for anyone, but there are people I don't miss.

14. Respect and flexibility from our campus administrators. 

15. A newfound appreciation for my classroom and seeing my friends. We can teach at home or school, and clearly it makes more sense for me to stay home. We don't teach live on Fridays, and prior to a few days ago we weren't going to be allowed to go in then. They changed their minds the other day, though, so I am going to go in a few times a month. I can't wait to be in my room and be able to wave to friends who are there from afar (with masks on, too, of course). 

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