TBT: Back to the Grind 2020

This past Monday, teachers at my small private school resumed work, sitting through our annual OSHA blood-borne pathogens training and another sales pitch from the AFLAC representative (start offering long-term disability insurance, AFLAC, and I’ll buy a policy).  Registration for new and returning students is now in full swing.

Last year was a unique school year, with its own challenges and opportunities.  As I detailed in this post, we had a host of new sanitation procedures, as well as the odious masks.  This year, the masks are optional, but we’re still sanitizing desks and checking temperatures at the door.

Unlike last year, we’ll have all the fun stuff again:  pep rallies, chapel, etc.  I know the students will be excited for some fun events to return to campus.

Of course, that means yours portly will be back to hustling to satisfy the bottomless appetite for audio-visual production values the students (and my administration) crave.  One silver lining of last school year was the vast reduction in constant events and activities, which allowed me the time to focus on teaching and grading.

Oh, well—here’s to another year!  And here’s 10 August 2020’s “Back to the Grind 2020“:

Today marks the first day that teachers at my little private school returned to work (classes don’t begin until 20 August 2020).  We’ve been going through protocol for returning to school and, boy, let me tell you:  it’s going to be a doozy.

I’m already grating at the mask wearing, which we are to keep on unless we’re able to socially distance appropriately (such as being in our classrooms alone).  I’m not arguing that they’re some kind of symbol of oppression (which, let’s face it, they kind of are); they’re just uncomfortable.  It is hot in South Carolina, and will remain that way well into October.  Masks stifle, literally and figuratively.

But I’m willing to wear one for the safety of my students and colleagues.  The real challenge will be enforcing, a la the ubiquitous “Karens” of the world, social distancing and mask rules.  That will be a Sisyphean task, especially with the younger students.

We’re also livestreaming our classes if we have a student who has elected to learn from home.  Students will be required to sign in at the scheduled class time, and marked “present,” “absent,” and “tardy” as normal.  That won’t be too difficult, but it will certainly add to the growing list of daily classroom administration tasks.  We’ll also be disinfecting desks at every classroom change, which will add another small but onerous burden to the already-hectic change-of-class time.

Needless to say, it will be an interesting school year.  I’m praying that these new measures can be implemented relatively smoothly, but teachers and students are in for an adjustment—a borderline culture shock.

More to come.  Say a prayer for teachers, students, administrators, and support personnel.  We need your support!

—TPP

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