" We anticipate there will be cases and outbreaks in PSD that will lead to shifts from in-person to remote education, health department-mandated quarantines for close contacts and possible, temporary closure of individual schools. Each these things will likely happen with little notice. PSD closely consults with the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) and monitors the agency’s COVID-19 community data dashboard, as well as PSD's COVID-19 dashboards, when making decisions about which educational phase to operate in."
When I began at Colorado State University, I never knew I would end it in a pandemic that completely rearranged the idea of a teacher for, not only teachers, but the entire world.
From Hybrid Learning and troubleshooting technology to in person contact tracing and quarantining, I have experienced it all. The entire semester moved back and fourth between fully online, hybrid, and full in person. Luckily, I was able to do most of my student teaching in person starting with Elementary, then moving to Middle School. When teaching in the pandemic, the teacher must provide lessons and resources for both in person and online students which is twice the work. With art, the limitations can get in the way of doing the same project at home and in school.
When I got to teach in person, it allowed me to get a glimpse of what it is like without COVID-19. In Elementary, each class would come in for 45 minutes and with 10 minutes between each class, we would sanitize every seat and desk in the classroom for the next class. This allowed me to become an expert at preparation, time management, and arm strength. The classroom was set up with shields at each table to give each student an individual space. In the middle school, the class number was larger which made it difficult to social distance. Classroom layout is crucial regarding COVID-19 because it will predict traffic flow, sitting periods, and exposure. The tables could not move which gave more restrictions, so there was some frustration.
Although teaching through a pandemic has been challenging, I do want to highlight the silver linings in student learning I got to experience. These students know how to problem solve, troubleshoot, and come up with solutions when it comes to technology. I am constantly amazed at the skill when I ask students about technology and their knowledge that has developed over the past year. I talked through a computer problem over Google Meets with a first grade student.
The moment students got to be fully in person, their imagination flourished, conversation was full of ideas and thoughts, and there were many squinted eyes (because you can't see smiles due to masks). Human to human connection is important and much needed for these student who have had a tough year. I am happy that we are taking our own responsibility to move forward.