Survivor ~ a person who copes well with difficulties in their life
Allow me to properly introduce myself…my name is Elle and I have been an educator for 21 years. Never have I EVER imagined that our world would come to a halt due to a virus. However, the world is full of nasty people so here we are. Never have I EVER envisioned teaching during a pandemic but March 2020 was the beginning of a new era…Pandemic Teaching! (YUCK)
Teaching is difficult on its own, as you have students with various learning styles, disabilities, personalities, and upbringings. Now let’s incorporate teaching children online due to being quarantined! Teachers had to quickly switch gears from brick and mortar to online teaching via Zoom or Google Meet. This adjustment proved to be difficult for veteran teachers that were not tech savvy but also a challenge for those that were. Many new applications and software were being introduced to educators to “make learning” accessible and interactive for our students. However, the training/professional developments were inadequate and rushed.
We made it through from March 16, 2020 to the end of the school year, sometime in June. Educators all over the world greatly appreciated our MUCH needed summer break which was unconventional due to the Pandemic. Many of us were not able to go on our usual summer vacations, couldn’t visit our families, and we were just stuck in the house with nowhere to go. Extremely difficult for extroverts!
It seemed the summer arrived and departed so quickly! The 2020-2021 School Year began with teachers and students remaining at home. The good thing is that we felt safe at home! Yet, more responsibilities were placed upon the teachers due to virtual learning. Not only did we have to plan lessons, teach our students, navigate and utilize technology; now we had to learn new programs that allowed us to monitor students interactions online. SMH! Oh I forgot! We also had to cultivate relationships with these new students and their parents virtually (not a simple task but we made it happen).
I enjoyed being at home and teaching until I didn’t! LOL! As soon as it became burdensome, the governor said it was time for teachers and students to return to the building! SIGH! I was not ready to be put on the frontlines, but I didn’t have a choice. I must admit, it was great to be back in the building to see the eyes of some of my students. MASKS UP!
A new set of responsibilities and challenges came with hybrid teaching! UGH! Teachers were urged to be kind and understanding towards our students and their parents. But who was our advocate for kindness and understanding? HA…a joke! This was also OUR FIRST PANDEMIC!
The workload was ridiculous to say the least. Trying to test students in person and virtually to maintain state funding, analyzing skewed data, teaching in person and online, and maintaining a pleasant disposition! Needless to say, a complete and utter SH*T SHOW! But it was either adhere to the mandates or lose your much needed job! WE WERE STRESSED OUT TOO! Many of us had our own children at home, husbands, grandchildren, elderly parents, and/or pets to tend to after school. But we weren’t important enough to receive such consideration.
I could feel myself losing it…patience, zeal, motivation you name it. I became extremely tired, mean, nonchalant, and my children (the ones I birthed) were getting the brunt of my frustrations. I wasn’t the greatest Mom.
All of the sudden, I got this feeling (my intuition kicked in). I’ve had this feeling before so I knew exactly what I was supposed to do. I confided in two friends/colleagues and let them know what I was thinking/planning. They were saddened by but supportive of my decision.
I began discarding 21 years of educational materials slowly but surely. I knew this was the end for me. I could sense that the 2021-2022 school year was going to be a mess and my mental health couldn’t sustain what was about to go down.
After much thought, prayer, and a phone call (I received two days before the last day to resign without prejudice), I resigned! There are no coincidences and it was my time. God knew what was about to occur, he told me to take that leap, and I listened!
Since my resignation, I have been denied unemployment due to voluntary resignation. I haven’t received any type of financial assistance from anywhere, lost health insurance, and a nice paycheck! I had just received a $20,000 salary increase, but I did not lose my sanity! MY MENTAL HEALTH AND HAPPINESS WAS WAY MORE IMPORTANT THAN A PAYCHECK!!! Who would take care of me if I lost my sanity?
ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE! Well, I was strong enough to say that I had enough and stepped away at the right time. Now, I have to sit back and watch my friends/colleagues dealing with the abuse that is “OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM. It hurts my heart to read and hear the horror stories that I knew were coming but couldn’t save my friends from. SIGH! It is NOT going to get better. I just hope they get out in time.
I AM VERY PROUD OF MYSELF…I completed my 21st year of teaching with 18 months of virtual teaching without adequate training. I cultivated relationships with my students and their parents. My students loved me and we all survived a very difficult year.
My heart is full! I did my best for 21 years and now I begin a new chapter!
Elle ~ A Survivor of Pandemic Teaching
P.S. This is a current depiction of the education system 2021-2022