Running a hybrid model is exhausting. I am beginning to wonder if it is sustainable. If the "reply all" email threads that making the rounds are any indication, I think there are many teachers on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Running a hybrid model, AM and PM sessions around an A group and a B group on alternating days, is brutal.
It is like working two jobs simultaneously, one as a classroom educator and the other as an online instructor. It is like teaching twice the case load. All while fielding emails and messages from students, staff, and parents. Passing periods are spent hustling to the restroom only to return to the classroom in time to wipe down all the desks and high touch-point areas with hypochlorous solution. We are all overworked and a bit stressed. So, now what?
My point: no one is getting a prize for having it the worst. We are still all in this together. We just need to find a way to make it work. Whatever that looks like.
Personally, I try to find the humor in it all. I certainly did not have Unhealthy Air Quality on my 2020 Apocalypse Bingo Card. And, I never imagined that I would be teaching from behind a plexiglass curtain that looks like a salad bar or sitting at a desk surrounded by tape on the floor like Les Nessman.
And, I certainly wasn't ready for this little gem in my Quantitative Analysis textbook.
Being one of the few counties in the state with low COVID numbers, our school district was allowed to open with a hybrid model. AM and PM classes, with alternating days.
The first week went fairly well. The students handled it better than staff, in my opinion. It has been a learning experience for everyone, coming off (emergency) distance learning to close out the end of the 2019-2020 school year. And, that learning curve has not been an easy one to bear.
To say that teachers are stressed is understating the situation. I understand students are stressed, and parents are stressed. We are all under stress as we work to adjust to this new normal. I only point this out because I hear the stress in talking with students and staff. Daily, I see news articles about the stress teachers feel as they attempt to deliver quality instruction and learn new technologies.
I feel it, too. Although, if I am being honest, my biggest concern is the future of education. I feel as if public education is setting itself up for changes that will quickly advance beyond its control. I worry that we are headed towards the privatization of education.
The last few weeks have been stressful, really. There is no one contributing factor. It's all of it. I have been walking 3-4 miles per day in the morning just to relieve some of the stress. It helps. And, it makes for some nice sunrises.
I know others feel this stress in various ways, and cope with the stress in their own ways. The sudden shut-down of schools in California on March 13th stressed everyone. The sudden realization that not all teachers are prepared to teach online...and that many students do not have access to wifi or a device. The businesses shutting down. The panic buying.
Then, came talk of reopening businesses in California, only to be followed by the sudden decision on June 17th to close some businesses again. Panic buying is starting to trend again. My son's senior year will begin online. My school district has decided to go all-in with a traditional model (as of today) with the offer of an online model. To be honest, I am not sure how I feel about any of the models. I need to do more research.