Whelp. It’s time for my
monthly semi-annual barrage of blog posts. And what better post to start with than the one that explains (for the most part) my absence.
Just before Christmas last year, I received a phone call from a former assistant principal that I taught with at Forbush, back before the Lidkids all hit the scene. He was now with Davie County, and they were in desperate need of a middle school math teacher for their virtual school. I thought it was maybe a good opportunity to get my foot in the door for a possible return to the classroom, so I agreed.
Well. It was nuts. Basically, I was the third teacher that year. The first two were pretty much substitutes, neither being a math teacher, so the classes were a bit of a mess by the time I took over. It was also quite a bit to get myself up to speed with all the technology. Things are a LOT different than they were 14 years ago. I also wasn’t given much to work with curriculum-wise. I had a link to the NC state standards, which was about 25 sheets printed out for the entire course. And I was added to lots of drives and existing accounts full of resources. Lastly, because of Covid, there wasn’t a lot of accountability for the 100 or so kiddos I had spread across four classes, which made for a discouraging environment.
We carved out a little corner of the dining-quilt-homeschool-craft room. And the corner morphed and grew and took over.
And make no mistake, I was always keenly aware of my little quilty space, being unused while I toiled away in the virtual trenches.
I started out so gung ho. Look how excited I am. It went downhill fast. I actually enjoyed my seventh grade class. But the three eighth grade classes were not as loveable. They didn’t turn on cameras or participate or do classwork. I joked (cried) that it was like teaching a math radio show. Very depressing.
I did enjoy that I only had to look professional on top. I bought several old lady sweaters. And for the bottom, I rocked pajama bottoms and sweats, everyday.
I did have a lot of support from friends, family and pets. Ruby was kind enough to offer lesson planning assistance. My pal Sarah Powers sent me some reading materials. (When we were in high school, we spotted this book in our guidance counselor’s office, and had a grand old time making fun of it for weeks, so obviously, she sent me a copy). A fellow teacher friend advised me to eat lots of chocolate, so I tried that. And during my Asynchronous days (no class google meets, but still working and office hours and staff meetings and so on), Hazel would set up in the room with me to hang out.
Sadly, I did not survive the year. It was all just too much. The lack of curriculum resources and pacing was what really got me. It felt like I was out on an island, reinventing the wheel over and over. Lesson planning became the biggest stressor. The kids were depressing. The parents were frustrating. And, I was basically ignoring my own family to do this. I had been sold the gig with the promise of being able to homeschool my own kids with the flexibility virtual teaching would offer, but that was definitely not happening.
Anyhow, in March, my mom came down to visit. And while she was here, I had a complete mental breakdown about all of it. She and Derek all but had an intervention to talk me into quitting. So, after she left, I gave my two weeks notice. It was a really hard decision, because I felt like an epic failure. And even though the situation was super hard, I felt bad for the kids having to have another transition. So, on March 17th, I graded all the things, submitted grades, emailed all the teachers taking over for my classes, packed up my equipment, and closed this short miserable chapter of my life.
I won’t lie. I do regret not seeing this through. I feel like I burned all the bridges on the only career that I can get back into easily. But, the situation was wrecking me. And wasn’t very healthy for our family. So, I guess I’ll just get a job at Costco now.
(also. lest there’s any confusion, i’m back dating these posts, so they better align with how my actual life played out.)