Friday, September 11, 2020

Familiar Faces

Last Friday, I covered an eleventh grade English class. They had a quiz. 

Substitute teaching during a pandemic is a strange mix of the familiar and our new reality. I know all the staff in the main office. I haven't seen them since everything shut down, but it was mostly the same, except we're only allowed to enter and exit through one door, and there are Plexiglas partitions up to shield the receptionist. 

There were administrator changes because new school year. I checked in, and then I had to check in with a new assistant principal because she had to give me access to the Google Classroom classes I would need for the day. 

Oh, and the masks. We're all wearing them, but oddly, when we interact, we make no mention of them. 

Once I had checked in, I headed for the classroom. The campus feels like a ghost town. There are people there, but not many, and I can feel the emptiness. Various reminders that we went home on March 13th and didn't return pop up. The ASB calendar of events wall outside still says March. And the classroom I was in still had the minimum day schedule posted. 

The teacher I was subbing for had not returned, although he was due to work the following week. That is why I was there. The sub who'd been covering his class was taking over another long term position, so they needed someone to fill the day. 

At the appointed time, the students logged in. A couple arrived at first, and then the whole rest of them started populating the screen. Only nine were visible, but the list of the 30-odd students was on the side. They immediately muted their microphones. Some turned off their cameras, but a few kept them on. 

(One girl in fourth period kept her camera on the whole time, but I don't think she realized it. She was clearly having a conversation with someone, and they were having a grand old time. Some dancing was involved.) 

As they had a quiz, all I had to do was announce it, and they got to work. And I watched a mostly blank screen. (They are required to have a certain number of minutes "in class", so they had to remain in class even once they'd finished the quiz.)

I had a chance to talk to the previous sub between classes. (There's a ten minute pause between each period.) He said the classes were fine, although sixth period could be weird. 

Sixth period weird? Imagine that. *end sarcasm*

So, sixth period started. And the names popped up on the screen. Names I recognized. Now, I recognized most of the names in the first two periods (they're only doing three periods a day), but sixth period names were different. I mean, not most of them. But about six or seven of them I remembered from previous interactions, and not in a good way. 

And all in the same class? Yikes. 

But, they're juniors now. As middle schoolers, they fought me. Now, they make a joke out of things. This is an improvement. We won't have the battles. But getting through material can easily go sideways.

20 comments:

  1. It's fascinating to read about the changes and how you all approach them. Thanks for sharing. And best wishes as you go forward!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. As the blog tends to be about my job, I will continue to write about the differences and similarities in our new reality.

      Delete
  2. You definitely seem to have things under control. Have a great weekend :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. They're definitely having a different high school experience than they expected. I wonder how this will affect them.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Replies
    1. Yeah, I don't know if I'd want to deal with them daily.

      Delete
  5. Good to see that they are turning up. And with muted microphones it at least reduces one of the problems!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Liz! Hope sideways doesn't happen too much for you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Do you think the kids are learning in this environment?

    Betty

    ReplyDelete
  8. Glad to hear your school district is being safe. I hope the students learn to take their studies seriously without the constant supervision of the classroom. I suppose there will be a learning curve for that, though. Maybe next semester.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They have assignments to turn in. Hopefully those keep them engaged.

      Delete
  9. As a regular teach and a sub I bet it is somewhat nice to see kids that go from one yr to the next and then they are out of there on their own. Dancing during class, haha, nice. Did you learn any new moves? Crazy. I understand how strange walking in a bldg during this time is. I have been going to work once a week and to walk into the bldg wearing a mask, having my temp taken, answering five questions about my health and walking down a hall where you do not come up on anyone else has been strange. Stranger yet is driving into town, on the streets that used to be crawling with people even at 6:30 in the morn, and down a road you go where there are no people, not even a car a head of you. This whole yr is totally unreal.

    ReplyDelete
  10. That has got to be the weirdest thing; going into a building where you've worked to work but almost everyone you work with is interacting with you remotely. Some of our area schools are open; my school district and almost the rest of them not now open will open tomorrow. Cross more fingers than I have on my hands....even being in New York State.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yikes. The local colleges have said they're starting the spring semester virtually, so hopefully the school districts will follow suit.

      Delete
  11. I have so much respect for you teachers. Such a tough job. I listen in on my granddaughter's zoom calls (2nd grade). So challenging to keep the kids focused. A strange, surreal situation.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Liz, I totally admire you for doing what sounds like a demanding and even, at times, thankless job! Have to admit, I laughed about the girl dancing, not realizing her camera was on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, they keep us entertained even when they don't realize it.

      Delete
  13. My mom wears a face mask and a face shield over that, decorated with stickers.

    ReplyDelete

I appreciate your comments.

I respond to comments via email, unless your profile email is not enabled. Then, I'll reply in the comment thread. Eventually. Probably.