Interview with Montgomery County Elementary School Special Education Teacher
What did the path leading to teaching online during this pandemic look like?
“So many questions. So much stress. Not knowing what each week, day, hour was going to look like. On March 16th just-in-case packets were sent home for students to work on while out of school (review materials, no new lessons). We thought we were just going to be out of school for 10 school days to resume in person class again March 30th. Little did we know, we were in for quite a ride. Online virtual class was officially rolled out March 30th.”
“In my 27 years of teaching, I have never worked as hard as I am right now. As teachers, we are definitely not at home as if it were summer!”
What is online teaching like during this pandemic?
“Even from home, I can still help students directly via video chat. Beyond video chats, I am still online working every day creating lesson plans, in school meetings, checking students’ work, giving feedback, checking attendance, and posting materials/assignments. Not to mention, I am also in constant contact with parents doing my best to help them adjust to being home where they must now home school their children directly.”
“On top of all of these new online teaching responsibilities, I am also still responsible for my normal day to day work per usual. For example, I must still complete weekly announcements, class lists for next year, create new lessons, all while prepping 6th graders as rising 7th graders for the upcoming year.”
What has changed when it comes to your day to day?
“Before all of this, when creating lesson plans and teaching materials, teachers have a designated amount of time and can refer to a physical teacher’s manual. With the new mandates, timelines are much more abbreviated and teachers must create all new lesson plans and materials from scratch for virtual learning. If that doesn’t sound stressful enough, as special education teachers, we must still continue to do all of our state mandated duties as well, testing, IEPs, evaluations, progress monitoring, collecting data, and much more…virtually!”
Give me a positive!
“To make light of the situation, we are planning virtual activities and creating/posting uplifting videos for students so that they can continue to see all of their teachers!”
What do you feel you have lost through COVID-19?
“Feels that teachers have lost the ability to support each child in their classroom directly. Being able to make the same educational difference or impact for each student when interacting virtually is difficult. I also really miss the social connection and camaraderie/collaboration with my co-workers!”
What do you feel you have gained through COVID-19?
“WEIGHT! I call it the #COVID-10. Just kidding! I’ve learned a lot of new skills when it comes to technology. A lot of things I never thought I could do.”
What do you feel you have learned through all of this?
“Every family environment is different. We need to keep this in mind when we ask students to complete something without us there. We are not able to change that home environment and have to have faith that they are trying to do the best they can.”
“Make the best out of the hand you’re dealt with. Some things are out of your control and that is something that is really hard to cope with when you’re a control freak like me! I am also having a lot better communication with my parents/family so that I may speak with and see them more often!”
Personal Fitness Trainer