You would think that teachers are strong and have it all together, but let me tell you the truth we don't. There is a certain fear to go back to daily contact with your students. I know at this point I'd rather sleep on a waterlily bed and hope it carries me to a safe place.
When all of this began and the pandemic changed our lives, teachers were glorified of being heroes that were so badly missed, because realized that their children really do not behave and teaching is much harder than you think.
We felt so good inside because someone thought of us as special and needed because we could reach out to those students who were the most difficult and the most vulnerable. We made it happen, year after year, and now all of the sudden we became teachers in the virtual realm.
I must say that my experience in Second Life had made virtual teaching so much easier not that I knew about Zoom or Google Classroom, but I knew the virtual world and that it did exist.
In one year we quickly became experts in this still of teaching. Our creativity never ended and we reached deeper to get everybody engaged. It became comfortable to come across our safe covid cave to reach the students. No colds, no runny nose, no headaches from crying and screaming children. It was a blessing in a way. Then as parents could not take this anymore, they would call us lazy and just sitting at home doing nothing. They demanded to open the schools, without realizing that the prize of maybe getting infected did not even enter their minds. They wanted relief from the hard chore of helping their child learn. The child they brought into this world now would be thrown back into the danger of getting sick and then bringing it home to them.
I remember parents complain before the pandemic and ask why is my child always sick? They constantly get a cold, they always get lice, don't you guys protect them from this? My child is not learning, why you not teaching them?
When a teacher gets sick, they have to find a substitute to take over. And yes, teachers get sick a lot just like the students, because kids just cough and sneeze all over and the classroom is a germ factory. We spend so much time cleaning constantly, washing our hands a million times until our hands hurt. A teacher most likely will go to work and teach when they are feeling miserable, because there is no sub who may take the classroom for that day, so you are made to come in.
I hear the research says that schools are safe, but hey the schools been close for a year, of course, they are safe. The question is what does the data say once they will be all open? I have not had a cold or any flu-like symptoms for a year, but I fear what will happen next. “It puts me in a very difficult moral conundrum, to choose between supporting my community, students, colleagues, and my own family’s safety.”