The last 10 weeks have been a blur - from the spring break that didn't happen for teachers, to the distance learning, to the emotional breakdowns witnessed in the parents of my students, this has been a challenging time.
I teach students with severe cognitive and behavioral challenges. My students range from 10 to 19 and all have significant disabilities. Some have autism, while others have other disabilities. Some have more than one diagnosis, while others do not. Behaviors that escalate to violence are prevalent. I'm NOT complaining, just giving you an idea of what it is that I do.
Today I wrote the progress notes for the last grading period of the year. It was heartbreaking for me to see that no progress was made. On the one hand, some of my students are blossoming under the freedom to do what they want. On the other hand, I have students who have been available to me less than 8 times over the quarter.
Moving into the fall, with the challenges that this pandemic will create, I'm looking at trying to understand students for whom verbal speech is difficult while they are wearing a mask. I'm looking at trying to instruct how to pronounce words when the students cannot see my face because I'm wearing a mask. I am struggling with the concept of social distancing, when instructing my students means close proximity and 1:1 support.
My take-away from this conversation - Support your friends and family who are educators. Pray for the teachers in your local schools. Ask what you can do to help. Personally, I could use a maid to clean my house after 12 hour days for the last 10 weeks. Offer kindness to all people. When people who lost their jobs hear that I'm working from home, they think that's a great gig. Unfortunately, my work has expanded to include all of my time. I start working when I arise in the morning, and finish in time to go to bed. The loneliness is extreme. The isolation is mind numbing. Teachers are social people, and we are being asked to instruct in a vacuum without support.
Just my two cents on a topic that I've been working through over the last couple weeks. I'll enjoy your responses.