These are trying times and we are all being affected. This pandemic means a different way of life for the next coming months, sending ripples of shutdown across the globe. On a lighter note, we are living through history, and we requested the help from our community to record it. While it might be something we all want to avoid thinking about right now, it’s something we will want to remember down the road. Everyone’s stories and feelings are valid, and we want to hear yours. If you would like to submit you own perspective, email it to [email protected] As a staff, the LN North Star has gathered multiple distinct perspectives from the community in dealing with this hectic time. Today, we will be focusing on responses from the educators in the community.
Julie Hunter, English teacher
When the news broke that our school was being shut down due to the Coronavirus, my initial reaction was that it was best for everyone to keep us all safe. Even though that is still true, eventually I started developing the whole gamut of feelings. On one side, I was happy to be home and give my babies some extra snuggles, and as great as that has been though, I soon came to a depressing realization. I had just become a part of the incredible LN community in January, and I didn’t have enough time there. I was sad that I had to leave friendships I just made and angry that I will likely never see some of my students again. I worried that my “work kids” had everything they needed. Afraid of my future being employed with the corporation having had little time to prove my worth. And now, given the current climate and reality of the situation, all I can do is continue doing my best to teach and serve my students, and hope and pray for the community. I pray that everyone is staying safe and healthy, and that I will be blessed to remain a part of the Lawrence Township family long after the Coronavirus has run its course. To my students: stay safe, stay healthy, please let me know if you need anything, and…. GO CATS!
Mary Grossling, World Language teacher
I was shocked to learn that school was closed. We were there one day, and gone the next. I knew things were getting worse and worse, but I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. I think that most teachers join this profession because they love kids. The teacher’s day continues to include assignments, lessons, planning, grading, CANVAS, and emails….but what’s missing are the kids. Our students make us laugh, make us mad, make us cry, give us joy, and give us pride. They give us purpose. We love them. We truly love them – and now they are gone from our lives.
I think the one e-learning day that we had back in February did prepare us for this current situation. The administration was very clear in their expectations and provided excellent support. For my class personally, my students had practiced since August 4 to find the syllabus, the modules, the announcements. The homework load has been identical to what it was prior to the closure. All of my students know exactly how the class works. This preparation has saved me during this difficult time. The most challenging for me has been the IB exams and preparation and AP exams and preparation. I had no online preparation for those two important programs. Fortunately, the students involved in IB and AP have been absolutely amazing – and VERY patient with me. For IB, we had a CANVAS practice activity that mirrored the 2020 IB adapted test. When I called each student to record with a smartphone, they were so ready. I am sure they will have excellent results. AP has been much more challenging though. The College Board is providing excellent Webinars on how to prepare the students. I am working many extra hours to prepare CANVAS assignments that will prepare them for this unusual adapted exam. While preparation is different and I normally do this part in class, I believe it will be a fair and comfortable test. The 2020 adapted version is less than 45 minutes. Our Wildcats are going to do great!
I am honestly so thankful that I have the job that I have. I can work from home and feel good about what I produce for my students. The school continues to support teachers, families, parents, and students in any way possible. Lawrence North makes me feel part of a community. I am never alone.
Rachel Couch, Social Studies teacher
As some schools around the country began to shut down, I thought there was a possibility that we would get out a week early for spring break. I was actually looking forward to it. I start with multiple AP review sessions right before spring break and that last month of school is always busy and stressful for me. I remember thinking it would be nice to have the extra week or two to prepare for AP season before I got started. Teaching on-line leaves me devoid of any of the joy I get from teaching and only leaves me with the technical aspects of grading and making sure my students can access links. There’s been an aspect of feeling like I am not fulfilling my purpose, which is to educate. I have planned a student educational travel trip to Greece with 35 amazing students and now with each passing day, that looks more unlikely. It gives me anxiety because I know students are worried, disappointed and will lose some of the money they worked hard for to pay for the trip. It is all out of my hands. Last night, I had a setback. I was looking at the curriculum that I want to cover for the rest of the year and realized all the content, lesson plans and just cool stories I will never get to share with my students this year. It breaks my heart that my students are going to graduate, and we will never get to have discussions over the Civil Rights movement or discuss the music of the 60’s-80’s. It’s also starting to sink in that I do not get to have a proper goodbye with my AP students. I normally make goody bags before the AP exam and give them pep talks. I end the year with a celebration or by giving out individual awards. I had a video conference with my students, and I couldn’t stop crying afterwards because I just missed them. I hate all the events that they are missing out on too. I am more emotional and frustrated than I would have imagined.
Lori O’Leary, Lawrence Township Special Education Specialist
When I first found out about coronavirus, it seemed like something very far away and happening in China. Although it was very concerning, I didn’t have a lot of feelings about it personally at that time. When I found out that school was cancelled here and learned that people started getting sick here in the United States, then it became very much more of a reality to me. I started wondering, because I’m a teacher, about families and students and how that was going to work for the families. I had wondered if this was going to be the appropriate or right decision for us. Everything is different now because I no longer go to work in a school. I now do my work from home, and although I don’t have students in a classroom, and I work with teachers, it’s become very hands on and in the moment with that because this is the first time we have ever done e-learning on a long term basis. There are lots of questions, and there’s lots of anxiety surrounding what will happen with our students. Because I am in special education, there are federal laws that govern what we do, so those laws are still in place, but because e-learning is different and our federal law was not made thinking about being in a pandemic or anything like that, it is uncharted territory.