The Pandemic Journal is a collaborative product of the English department that I work in. We have been tasked to create universal lesson plans for each course and decided, as a department, to adopt and adapt journal prompts each week for students to consider during this global pandemic.
I have opted to write these prompts along with my students and reflect on the times we are living in.
For the first part of the first week, students were invited to read a collection reactions/reflections of students titled “I Can’t Believe I’m Going to Say This, But I Would Rather Be At School” and then share their favorite and least favorite activities so far via an assignment on Google Classroom.
For the rest of the week, students were to consider the following prompts for their first entry in the Pandemic Journal:
- How do you feel about being away from school?
- What do you miss? What are you enjoying?
- What have been the biggest changes you are experiencing?
- What parts of this new life have been positive?
For the most part, I understand and acknowledge why we need to be away from school at this time. Coronavirus is a novel virus. We haven’t seen it before and we do not have the knowledge or resources to handle it, so we need to avoid large gatherings of people and schools across the state and country are those large gatherings.
There are little things that I selfishly miss about going to school each day. I miss my students. I teach students in grades 9-12 at varying levels and I love it. I miss seeing their faces each day and learning alongside them as we read, write, and talk together. Besides my students and the content I teach, I also miss my colleagues, a daily routine, and driving to and from school.
On the flip side of things that I miss from the school year, I enjoyed the small break I had from school. I am thankful for how my district approached everything when we first left school in mid March. It was a true break, which provided me with time to breathe, reflect, and refocus on what needed to be accomplished with my family in the “new normal.”
The biggest changes I have experienced include adapting to new work schedules between my wife and I, not seeing family and friends for holidays and birthdays, and the unknown of where coronavirus will strike next.
Adapting to new work schedules has allowed me to learn more about what my wife does as a nurse practitioner. It has also allowed me more time to reflect on classroom practices, rewrite curriculum and rubrics, and create new curriculum through collaboration with colleagues for the remainder of the school year.
Not seeing family and friends for holidays and birthdays has been tough. It is difficult to articulate the exact feelings because I know the reason why we can’t get together to celebrate. I think the sacrifice now will be worth it.
As far as the unknown goes, I believe we must all continue to listen to the science on what to do moving forward. With all of the uncertainties, we need to follow the guidance of the experts to save lives in the long run.
The positive parts of this, in my opinion, is the excess of time. Staying at home has provided me with a ton of time that I have not been granted in while. I have enjoyed more time for family, house projects, sleep, meal planning, grocery shopping, exercise, and hobbies. I am trying to come out of this quarantine ahead and on top rather than stuck in my old ways and unchanged. I am continuing to find ways to better myself and be the best version of me that I can be.
I’m looking forward to writing along with my students in our Pandemic Journals! Check out the other entries: