During normal school times, I teach five fifty-five minutes class periods each day.
I get tired, but I’m usually not exhausted.
And, during normal times, I’m energetic enough to also play basketball three nights a week.
During long distance learning this year, I’m teaching four classes two days a week and three classes two days a week, and then short “check-ins” during another day.
And I am exhausted.
Yes, I know that many of us feel that way at the beginning of a every school year until we get used to the routine, but this exhaustion feels different – sort of a very “deep” tiredness.
I was wondering today what that was – I mean, in the physical classroom I’m on my feet moving during the most of the day and, during remote teaching, I’m perched on my butt in front of a computer screen (well, actually three computer screens, to be exact).
And then it came to me – in the physical classroom, as crazy as it might be, I can often take short moments of physical and mental “rest.” I can sometimes:
- sit at my desk for a few minutes to catch up on emails if students are in the middle of working on projects after all questions have been answered and keep on eye on the class at the same time.
- call for a monitor to come to the room for a few minutes if I need a bathroom break.
- chat briefly with a colleague who stops by if students are “on task.”
- I can get lost in reading a student’s essay for a short time before I give him/her feedback while everyone else is working away.
None of that seems possible, at least at this time, in a remote teaching classroom. When we have live full-class instruction, I have to be on.
Enthusiasm is difficult to see online, so I have to be extra-enthusiastic. In breakout rooms, even though I have been building student leadership teams to help out (see FOUR ACTIONS I’VE TAKEN THAT SEEM TO HAVE BOTH HELPED STUDENTS IN MY VIRTUAL CLASSROOMS & HELPED ME MAINTAIN MY SANITY), I’m racing from room to room to provide encouragement and remind students of breakout “norms.”
I’m hopeful that this level of pressure will lesson over time, but I’m not sure that it will happen.
And I’m concerned about my colleagues – both locally and nationally – if it doesn’t….