Tara Cosco, Ed.D. is an Associate Professor of Education at Milligan College. She has been a KDP member for more than 20 years and serves as the Counselor of the Alpha Iota Iota Chapter.
Initially, when we heard about the Coronavirus, the college was on spring break, so to be honest I didn’t pay a lot of attention to it. I was enjoying my time off.
Then, the college announced we had an extra week of spring break.
Naturally, I reacted joyfully. I took long walks in the park with my co-worker and enjoyed the extra time off from work.
Then, the college announced we needed to transition to online teaching for the rest of the semester.
What? I better look into what this is truly all about. The college is one of the last places to close. When public schools close, we tend to stay open if at all possible, so this must be serious, I thought.
I wasn’t too worried about the transition to teaching online. One of my classes was already online, and most of my materials are housed online anyway.
The first week of online teaching was okay. I added assignments to make up for the in-class work I would have typically given them. I wasn’t feeling the stress I assumed some of my other colleagues were, because I love technology and use it often anyway.
Then, we had an area meeting, and the realities of what others were facing became apparent.
My chair talked about the students’ fears about graduation and how they would finish the hours needed in the schools as a student teacher and intern. We were told many of the mentor teachers were now having to homeschool their own children and at the same time teach their students. Spouses were out of work and tensions were high. My heart started to ache for the students who dreamed of their senior year with friends and their graduation celebration. The moment they had all worked so hard for was now something that we feared would not happen.
The second week of class in quarantine, I decided to hold a Zoom meeting and allow students to gather together virtually if they could. I allowed those who were unable to attend the virtual class to watch the replay later.
I was thrilled to see my students’ faces again! I had missed them terribly!
This pandemic had taught me that there was a lot in this world I took for granted. I took for granted the everyday conversations, interactions with colleagues, students, friends, and family. We held class as usual, only through a screen instead of in person. It worked well! I was pleased with the technology, the ability to share my screen, and interact as if we were in an actual classroom.
It is now early April, and we are starting a month-long lockdown.
I am missing my colleagues, students, friends, and loved ones terribly!
I miss eating out, social gatherings, a friendly hug. The news tells of projected deaths and times are scary.
I hope everyone stays safe and we return to normal soon with an attitude of gratitude.
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