First Day Jitters and PPE
Yesterday was my first day back in the classroom with students since March of last year. It was nerve-wracking, to say the least. My district has Mondays for optional in-person small group time for 3 hours each Monday. I had 8 students present yesterday and it felt like the first day of school. The students were quiet and shy, even though they had been together for 8 months, it felt like they had never spoken before. My loudest student in online class could barely muster up enough bravery to state one thing she was excited about for the rest of the school year. This is typical for the first day of “normal” school, but I wasn’t expecting it this time around since we are more than halfway through the school year. After our short break, the students started becoming more vocal and it felt more like a normal school day, but the first couple of hours were rough.
Starting today a new group of students will start. My district has 3 different cohorts. A cohort who comes on Tuesday and Wednesday, a group on Thursday and Friday, and a group who is online only. My group who comes today is a small group and consists of only 5 students (for now). I will have to simultaneously teach both sets of students, which I am very nervous about. Many of my tier 3 behavior students come back today, who have not worked all school year. It will be a struggle to keep them engaged and motivated for a very long school day. My Thursday/Friday group is much bigger and consists of 11 students. Even though I have been teaching for 5 years, I am very nervous about the change and feel like a first-year teacher all over again. I am hoping after the first couple of weeks I can offer some tips and tricks to hybrid teaching, but right now I am still learning. Do you have any suggestions?
On another note, can we talk about wearing face masks while teaching? Good heavens is it hard to breathe and teach and walk around all at the same time. It is one thing to wear a mask when you go out and talking is limited. But when you talk all day and are up and moving around, it is a real struggle that I had no idea was going to be a problem. I have even more respect now for people who have had to work in a mask for the past year. I ordered a 3D mask bracket to help and am looking at different types of more breathable masks because the ones I have are not going to work for the rest of the school year. Suggestions?