I am a teacher. My husband is a teacher. We are teachers in Louisiana. We are teachers in a state that was hit hard by COVID-19. We are teachers that watched our beloved state demolished by Hurricane Laura. We are teachers with a new booming business. We are teachers and we are tired!
If you think this blog is a rant about the downfalls of teaching and unfair justices some think teachers suffer, then you are going to be disappointed. I am a teacher who is just simply tired.
On March 13, 2020, we were sent home from school not to return for the remaining school year. Our lives were modified, our worlds confined, and a new appreciation for things that once were developed. We became a planet of isolation and sickness. However, this was the time my husband and I focused on our business of candle making and soap creating. When we weren't in front of a computer providing online classes to students we didn't have the chance to say good-bye to and others we will not see again, we were in our workspace (kitchen) creating the master pieces that are now Gnome Hollow Candle and Soap Company.
COVID-19 plagued our area with record numbers. We are still seeing numbers rise and fall with each day that passes. Being a teacher has had its benefits during all of this. I have had the luxury of being at home when others have had to work. I have not had the financial hardships that others have had because I have a career that takes my 9 month contract and divides my pay into 12 monthly payments. Because I didn't get to wear my spring line of clothing, I have extra money to spend on masks for the fall school year. I have saved money on my classroom because social distancing is preventing a lot of the activities we once enjoyed with our kids (advantage here is the money I saved). As much as I love being home, like everyone else, I had to return to work. I have future generations that depend on me to pass on my knowledge and help them attain the next level.
COVID-19 has changed the face of teaching. Quite literally! I can't see my kids faces! I only see eyeballs and hair. Seriously though...class sizes are smaller. Students get more one on one time. Participation is required because there is no one to hide behind. Material is covered at a faster pace because there is less disruptions and more individual time. Students are picking up on content quicker. I am able to verify everyone's work and no one gets overlooked. And the most amazing thing is I KNOW MY KIDS NAMES and we are only 7 days in! I normally don't learn all my kids until almost a month after school starts.
COVID-19 has made me a hybrid teacher. This requires me to create video learning for students at home while presenting the same curriculum to students in class. If it wasn't for a wonderful support team, I would probably be buried under tutorials and how-to videos. Just another challenge that will be tackled and become second nature soon enough. I am a hybrid teacher and I love it! Why do I love it? Did you read the paragraph above?! Hybrid does have its own challenges. I am learning new platforms, overcoming challenging technology, taking a deep breath when students use the inability to access work as an excuse to not do the work, and creating a world where old school teaching and new wave teaching collide. Thrilling!! But tiring! I'm a tired teacher because I am preparing 2 teaching methods a day, virtual and in person. I am tired because I am at a new school teaching a new subject. I am tired because we have to be in our classroom ready for kids at 6:55 am. I am tired because my lunch consists of entertaining students who now eat with me (we are now binge watching Disney+ shows during that time). I am tired because we are in the first weeks of school. I am tired because I am a teacher!
COVID-19 sent us home in March and didn't allow us to return until recently. We were in school 5 days when Hurricane Laura sent us home again. Hurricane Laura...what can you say? You saw the pictures! As I'm writing this, I still have students without electricity and/or with trees through their roofs. My daughter moved to Lake Charles just a couple of weeks ago. She moved into an apartment garage on a beautiful farm. She was so excited about her new life and I was thrilled to see her starting a new adventure. Then Laura hit her home full force with a Category 4 hurricane. She did evacuate! Last minute, but she did get out. She returned home the day after Laura hit and her only response was "OMG! There's nothing left!". The house and barns are still standing, but have little of the roofs left. You can see where there used to be fences. The trees on the farm are nothing more than firewood. One truck was destroyed and two barricaded in buildings. Horses are trapped in the barn, but without fences, where would they go? The landscape of the place she now calls home has forever been changed. Her view of catastrophe has been reformed because now it is personal. My first experience with hurricanes was Katrina, but Jesse doesn't remember the aftermath. This is an experience she will never forget and will evacuate immediately next time she is told. However, she is hardheaded and stubborn so we'll see. She is physically tired from the long hours of manual labor during the clean-up and mentally exhausted from the shock of the losses around her. With that being said, I am proud of her for the work she is doing there and the help she is providing to the elderly couple she lives with and the neighbors that have accepted her as part of the family. I am emotionally tired from the stress of worrying about her. She is tired! I am tired! We are tired!
With school in session, COVID-19 creating havoc, and Hurricane Laura destroying our beautiful state, Gnome Hollow is continuing to grow and expand. After a day of virtual and in class teaching, we return home to quiet and seclusion from others. This only lasts as long as we have product ready for the next market or the restock for the store fronts we are in. As hard as we may try to stay up on product, websites, marketing, social media, customer requests, and blogs, we are teachers and our students come first. We spend our evenings and our weekends replenishing product for Gnome Hollow. We spend our planning periods, before and after school, evenings, and weekends preparing for the students we will see the next day or the following week. We have a juggling system that is imbalanced and barely working, but it is working! It takes us longer to create our daily tasks as teachers and even longer to complete the necessary chores of Gnome Hollow. My husband and I are a team. We are both teachers. We are both proud teachers and we are simply exhausted!