By Melissa Face
This week was difficult for many of us.
I found out that I will not be returning to room 301 with my incredibly talented sophomores, and we will have to spend the remainder of our year connecting virtually. That brought on a whole new wave of sadness and uncertainty. How will I make sure they are getting what they need? How will those without internet access continue to work on their assignments? How will I juggle homeschooling my two children and instructing my tenth graders? And for the love of God, why isn’t Google Classroom allowing me to set up a new class??
This week I felt more stress and anxiety about the pandemic, which likely came from reading too many online articles late at night. As a result, I had multiple nightmares about ventilators and food shortages.
In fact, I felt so negative that I thought about not writing about week two at all. I could just wait and see what week three was like and maybe I would have something more positive to say. But that would be hypocritical of me. I tell other people all the time that it’s okay to not be doing okay, and it’s okay to admit it. So it needs to be okay for me to do the same. I must embrace the fact that I’m not going to feel optimistic about this situation all the time.
I also remembered that writing is one of the main ways I cope with my feelings, and ignoring that now would be doing myself a great disservice. I would be missing out on the opportunity to sort, deal, plan, and put things into perspective.
This week was definitely more challenging than last week, but there were still plenty of great moments with my children and my friends.
Here are some things that were especially helpful this week:
- Venting – I called my mom and asked her to just listen to my frustrations. I didn’t need advice or for her to fix anything; I just needed to get all the ick out. I needed to explain how overwhelming it felt to be responsible for my students at school and my two at home and that I wasn’t sure I could do it all. She listened while I shared, and then we moved on to more pleasant topics.
- Shopping – I bought a dress online. I don’t know when I will wear it, but I’m excited about trying it on when it comes in the mail. It gives me something to look forward to, and that is important. I also bought a new novel from one of my favorite local bookstores, and that is being shipped my way as well. Thank you, Chop Suey!
- Participating – We tried to be involved with every opportunity that came our way this week. The kids connected with their teachers through Zoom meetings; Evan talked to his friend through FaceTime, and we walked to the end of our driveway to see the teacher parade. Thank you, Walton teachers and staff! That was definitely the highlight of our week.
- Exercising – We continued our gratitude walks, basketball games, and Wii Dance competitions. We’re getting good at a couple of the dances, so look out! We’re going to have some serious moves for TikTok this summer.
- Laughing – My friend and I shared funny “working from home” videos via text and created several song parodies related to the quarantine. Remember the 311 song, “Don’t Stay Home?” The new lyrics are: “Please stay home this time, oh please stay home. We all have to; we don’t want to.” And I love singing that new Taylor Swift song to my kiddos. It goes: “I promise that you’ll never find a mother like me. I’m the one you want to be, stuck with in quarantine…” Know it?
Because this week was difficult emotionally, I wasn’t as structured with the kids or myself. We slept in later, wore pajamas more often, and took more frequent breaks. If either of them showed signs of frustration with their school work, we stopped and went outside or watched a quick show.
The most positive part of quarantine so far is that my kids are neither bored nor unhappy. They continue to find things to do even when I’m not entertaining or instructing them. They also seem to be thrilled to have me at home with them each day, and for that simple fact, I couldn’t be more grateful.
Perspective is so important.
Best of luck to everyone in week three!