California Educator

June/July 2020

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Page 21 of 63

Educators tell what it's really like teaching in a pandemic As told to Sherry Posnick-Goodwin eaching during normal times is challenging. It requires dedication, patience and knowledge — plus the ability to foster connections with students. It's about being a role model and knowing when students need extra help, even if they don't ask. It's about fostering relationships with parents, building community, and more. This year was anything but normal. When COVID-19 closed schools, teachers rose to the challenge of taking their classrooms online and teaching from home. Some already knew how to teach online; others had a learning curve. Educators are indeed making history. The following snapshots highlight different experiences. Woven together, these stories create a tapestry, which may show future historians what it was like to teach during this extraordinary time. An opportunity for growth KRISTIN ZEBE SCIENCE TEACHER at Pioneer Middle School, Tustin Educators Association I C O M P A R E T E A C H I N G in a pandemic to teaching in a tornado. Everything is whirling around you. You have to find a way to get all of the kids into a bunker and feeling safe, while not freaking out yourself. I must be a source of stability, because students can't learn if they are stressed. I am stressed, but can't show it. I've been teaching 17 years, and it's the most interesting year of my career. It sounds funny, but teaching under these circumstances forces me into flexibility and going outside my comfort zone. It helps that I have a strong classroom management style. The expectations I set earlier in the year have carried over into online teaching. My district is very tech-savvy. In my school, students were issued iPads to take home. We were ahead of the curve, but I had to learn some things from scratch, like how to hold Zoom meetings and online office hours. It helps that I work with an incredible group of teachers and feel supported. We work through problems together daily. As a single mom, it has been challenging. Sometimes my second grade daughter and I have Zoom meetings at the same time. I make sure she's able to do her schoolwork while I'm teaching. Sometimes, she needs me when I'm teaching or communicating with students and parents. The upside is that both of us are becoming more flexible and enjoying quality time. I think she has found newfound respect for me as a teacher, seeing how hard I'm working. I miss school. But I think this pandemic has offered opportunities for social and emotional growth for myself, my family and my entire school community. T "It helps that I work with an incredible group of teachers and feel supported." Deposit Photos 20 Tales From the Trenches covid-19 feature C O V I D - 1 9

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