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Voices - An ode to teaching during a pandemic - Haley Perry

An Ode to Teaching During a Pandemic

Haley Perry My short experience teaching has been an interesting one. Last winter we were out of school for a week due to snow. My second year of teaching our year has been cut short almost three months due to a world pandemic.

March 13th was the last contact day I had with students. It was Friday the 13th, a full moon, and an early release. I had a sub for part of the day so I did not even get to say goodbye to most students. Jokes were being made around the halls about not coming back for the rest of the year, but no one believed it at the time.

Hearing that we were going to be out of school for a couple weeks due to COVID19 honestly felt like a relief at first. Being a teacher is a job that does not stop when you come home and it takes more emotional and mental energy day after day than most careers. The breaks are absolutely needed and should be treasured.

After the second announcement that schools would be closed until April 28th and then the rest of the school year, I felt a rollercoaster of emotions. I felt sick to my stomach that my students who I had finally begun connecting with would be gone. I was angry that I knew my students on IEPs would no way get the extra support required to support them in their education the rest of the year. I was scared for the students who had mental health issues who depended on teacher and peer interaction each day and for those students who lived in unstable homes. The gross inequity in our country around education was quickly shown through this pandemic.

While I am still feeling all of those emotions. I am also feeling grateful. I am grateful for the technology to still connect with students in some way. I am grateful for the decompression time from the taxing job of a being a public-school educator. I am grateful for an amazing staff and administration that has handled distance learning with grace and humility. We will all be changed from this virus, but we will walk back into our classrooms next year with even more excitement and energy for our passion to teach every student, every day in SPS.

- Haley Perry