Thinking of a new work reality

I started thinking yesterday about how to write about what it is like teaching from home currently.   Not only teach but try to plan for when we get back to a more regular lifestyle while appearing upbeat and optimistic about future cycling and tour possibilities.  I also thought that if or when I do write, it’s going to be highly unedited. I don’t think now is the time for a perfectly curated and thought out post about selling tours or marketing or anything of the like, I am not very good at that anyway nor the point of this post!  So this is me, sitting on my couch free-writing.

I am not alone

Like any small business owner, I know that even in the course of a normal year the line between success and failure is small.  I have a friend in Burlington Vermont who for the past ten or so years has run a very successful rock and ice climbing company.  He has currently ceased operations and is not taking clients out.  I feel for him and his girlfriend whose livelihood depends on that.  There are countless others going through the same thing. The positive side for me, and what at least for now does not keep me up at night, is the fact that I am not relying yet on income from bike tours!  I hope however that in the very near future I will have more clients coming in and tourists to take out on tours of Western Massachusetts and I am thinking about how to do that.

What is the real problem then?

What really worries me in increasing amounts is my “real” job, the one that I earn money from.  I am a middle school French teacher and have been a teacher for 15 years.  We are all trying to distance-learn or in some ways stay connected and keep a sense of normalcy.  It is not easy. We are flying by the seat of our pants and I think if anyone says otherwise they are not being totally honest.  But we are making progress on that.  What worries me is how this shutdown and social-distancing is affecting or will affect our students. We went from classroom instruction on a Thursday to school being closed on Friday night.   I have students who I have not heard from or seen online for three weeks, students who are struggling to make sense of what is happening or what to do and how to keep learning.  I worry that these last three months of school will be a wash and that whatever we try to do is just a band-aid on a gaping wound.

We try to move forward with the curriculum, yet so many kids are not able to process how to learn now. There is a sort of information overload right now and for a middle school students it can be intense!  I am grateful and thankful that 75-80% of my students are working and seem to be fine….for now.  It’s the ones who have “checked out” and not kept in touch that I worry about.  I and other teachers are making strides in what can be done to get them back into the group and classes and support them.  It puts the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” into a new perspective.

Take care of each other and be safe.