ART-ON-A-CART: First Week Back & Now Online


Here I am, now more than 3 weeks post-return(?) to work. Can’t lie, my first 2 weeks were TOUGH STUFF. All the tangible tricks & things I learned over the past 3 years from teaching art off a cart I felt I had to throw out the window. Because now… I was faced with my first-ever teaching experience during a global pandemic. Yikes.

I was anxious to start, more than ready, but when the government announced (just before my return) that we would be going virtual as of December 17th I was floored. I immediately started second-guessing my decision to return to work. To have even changed schools for that matter. I was missing the thought of security. I think it’s safe to say I was feeling lots of guilt and possible regret.

Fast forward to my first week…
The students were great. The staff and administration are so welcoming. My girls acted like exemplary students for the most part. But I was still lost because I hadn’t had all those months to adjust to the new norms like most everyone else.

Staff meetings via Zoom while you sit 3 teachers, socially distanced in the same office, in front of 3 separate computers screens? What a time warp.

Three different educational social platforms to navigate all at once for 230+ students, 13 art groups, and an additional 4 for General Subjects. When I say “educational social platforms” I’m referring to ClassDojo, SeeSaw, and now Microsoft TEAMS.

A new recess schedule, morning and afternoon, split it into two 20-minute groups to manage social distancing in the hallways–Does that make sense? Just to say: I was late to my classes on at least 3 separate occasions. I hope I can get on top of this new schedule…

Procedural mask. Safety glasses. Those God-awful safety glasses, whose bright idea at the CSNEET level was that?

I see the tired faces of my colleagues. They’ve worked hard over the last year. I know, they supported and taught my girls with such energy and dedication. True professionalism in a time of global crisis. They’re still very tired. They’re likely drained. Much like healthcare workers, staff working in long-term care facilities, they truly need a break and so much more support than what the government gives them. But this isn’t a political blog and I’d rather not rant about the current government and their incompetent Education minister, so I’ll just leave it at that.

All that to say… Going virtual was my biggest worry whenever I thought about or planned my return. Just to keep it brief: my girls are very young and can not manage logging into Zoom at various times independently, it’s impossible. We also don’t have enough devices to go around. And to top it all off: with 5 of us on Zoom and sucking up the bandwidth our Internet keeps crashing. I think it disconnected me a record of 7 times during my 40 minute Grade 4 Science class.

This remote learning or distance teaching or whatever you want to call it… It’s NOT sustainable. I want to be PHYSICALLY back in the classroom. I want to get to know my students in the flesh. Recognize their faces, know them by name. Make a connection with them. Connect with my colleagues! Feel for once like I’m really “back”.

How about you, teacher friend? How are you feeling these days? I want to send you a virtual hug and just say: you’re doing a d*** good job!

xo, Stephanie


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you love creative freebies?

Sign up here to receive news, blog updates, and exclusive smART educational freebies!