Question of the Day: “Why does teaching feel like drowning?”

Everyday feels the same with the constant potential to be vastly different.

Hybrid, virtual, sudden lockdown, sudden dismissal due to bomb threat or fast moving snow storm. COVID sick, COVID cancelled…yes, the one in my fourth desk, third row, no, I’m not sure if it was more than 15 minutes. He couldn’t find the screen where the assignment was located…I stood by him to help.

Students in masks who I still don’t know, first names, last names and what they like to do on the weekends.

“Sometimes drowning looks like waving from the shore” was written somewhere by someone much smarter than me. This what I feel like as I hear people tell teachers to “shit or get off the pot.” The screams we are not teaching and we are not opening the schools and it feels crazy because I am teaching.

Everyday I stare at their lettered icons on a screen or try and talk to them through cloth across my mouth and clear plastic around faces that make them look like bee keepers without their beloved bees.

My words are muffled as I go through the motions and their eyes are glazed after five straight classes with only a ten minute snack break.

Breathing through the mask is hard but not as tough as digging through the books in my closets that I’m not able to put on shelves, looking for the right one for my student to read.

My co-teacher glares and passive-aggressively asks me why I “mistakenly” let a refugee student who barely speaks English use the computer marked “ TEACHER” in our room.

“Because it was easier,” I answer. And she’s angry at this response but she’s really just angry because we are 1B here and not 1A.

But none of this matters because we are the captains and are students are our crews and the ship is sinking slowly and we are all just waving as we pray we aren’t drowning.

But we are.