Pregnant in a Pandemic

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Who can relate? As of today, I am 17 weeks pregnant with our second baby and I couldn’t be more excited. But the excitement I feel is met with a lot of uneasy feelings and anxious thoughts about what’s to come in this current climate.

I found out I was pregnant in January of 2020 and just four months later, we went from planning the Disney trip of a lifetime to figuring out if we can even get to the grocery store. At first I found being super informed eased my anxiety but with so much uncertainty in the media surrounding this ominous virus, information hasn’t done more than make me fearful for what’s to come. This virus is scary enough when it affects you or your family. Its a new type of fear what it affects a small being that only you feel you can protect. You are no longer staying indoors for yourself to stay safe but so you can keep this little baby safe as well. It is an immense sense of pressure that is put on families to stay safe during this crisis.

When information starts to fail me, here is what I remind myself in an attempt to keep my anxiety at bay and this little baby happy:

Try to control only what is under your control – we cant control what is happening outside our windows. We can’t control the rules the hospitals make about visitors. We cant make people stay quarantined or stop bulk buying, but we can control how we treat ourselves. We can create a safe space at home (if you are able to stay home – thank you to all those working to keep us safe!) where we have what we need to feel as calm as possible.

Give yourself grace – allow yourself to feel nervous, anxious and excited. It’s okay to be excited about your new baby in such uneasy times! It’s okay to be terrified of what state the world will be in when you deliver. And, its okay to eat 2 cupcakes in one sitting while you binge watch The Tiger King (have you watched this show yet?!).

Remember, that you are doing all you can for your family and this baby – Whether that means staying home in quarantine or as an essential employee; you are doing the best that you can and that is all that matters. Remember that when this all passes, this will feel like only one (brutally long) chapter in your story.

Talk about how you’re feeling – talk to your husband or wife. Talk to your friends. Talk to your parents. Or even just talk to you in a journal or to the mirror. Let out the feelings of frustration, of anger or fear. Sometimes it may feel like the Corona virus is over shadowing this monumental time in your life and that is so frustrating! Maybe talking out how you feel will alleviate some of that pressure or at least it will bring others onto your raft, so you don’t feel so alone.

Being pregnant is exciting and stressful already! Add into the mix a global pandemic and yikes, it can get a bit overwhelming. I have been kept up at night with the uncertainty of whether or not I will be allowed to bring my husband in with my to give birth to this baby and the idea of missing out on that first look, when Olivia meets the baby in the hospital. I just keep reminding myself to only worry about what I can control, and that everything else will fall into place. The nurses will be there to comfort and care for us and the new baby and remember mommas – we are all stronger than we ever give ourselves credit for. Im trying to implement these ideas of giving myself grace and room to feel sad, of eating that second cupcake and taking out how I feel.

We will get through this, supporting each other. Talking about how we are feeling. Finding support in others. Please, message me and talk to me about how you’re feeling. I am going through the same thing. We got this.

To My Students…

An Educators Perspective, Our Latest Adventures

To my students…

Today we begin another chapter. Unlike how this normally sounds, we are not going to be reading an article or information in a book. Together, you and I, and the rest of your peers, get to begin a new chapter in this history of education. Unlike how we normally begin our exploration of a historical event, we are not going to read this chapter. And, I know that it is one of your favorite activities, so together, we are going to write this chapter. 

I am excited for this new chapter. 

It is going to challenge me to find new ways to engage you and make you think about the world and how you fit into it. It is going to challenge you take ownership for your learning. We are going to explore technology much more deeply, as it is going to be the way in which we communicate and which you communicate with one another. I know that for all of you, you connect regularly through text messages and social media apps, but for me, this is all new in how I will connect with you. This is a new way in which I can begin to relate to each of you, and a challenge I am ready to tackle. 

I am also nervous. 

First, I am not there to help you. I can not see that questionable look on your face when you are unsure about the information or skill we are working with. I can not approach you to ask a question or give you a hint. With this new way of learning, are you going to reach out to me? Are you going to feel comfortable sending me an email? Are you going to even know what you need for help? Please reach out to me, as I am here, waiting, to help in any way I can.

Second, I am afraid I am going to be unsuccessful in helping you learn. We spend time together during lunch and after school reviewing content, answering questions, and expanding our view of how we fit into this world. Are my lessons going to be challenging enough? Are they going to be too challenging? These first two weeks are going to be a lot of trial and error. I hope that you work with me to find the right balance for how to learn this way.

Third, I am concerned about you. Are you ok? Are you sticking to a schedule and routine? Are you eating and sleeping enough? Do you have a space that you can focus? Are you able to connect with others? We all spend a lot of time together in school. In the work week, I spend more time with you than I do with my own family. I care about you, and if there is anything you need, I’m still here. 

We have spent the past six months together. I know that we can do this. You have demonstrated an unlimited potential for learning, and a resilience that I am envious of. I am ready to rise to this challenge and meet you at the end. I know that once this chapter has been written by us and closes, we will both look back together and be proud of the growth we have made and the learning that has taken place. 

Sincerely,

Your Teacher

The Night Before…

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March 19, 2020

For the last eight years I have taught seventh grade social studies. I love what I teach. I have always been fascinated with exploring people and events of the past, the decisions that people make when faced with challenges, and the consequences of their actions. Today I find myself on the precipice of history itself. Today, instead of reading about history, I get to live and create history.

COVID-19 is all you hear about on the news. The anchors talk about the effect on the stock exchange, the decisions that local, state, and the federal government are making, and the increasing number of people that are sick and dying. You hear about the loss of jobs, the effect it is having on the elderly, the irresponsible college kids who are still out on spring break spreading this virus to those that are more at risk. 

For a short while you heard on the news about the schools that were closing. On March 15th, Connecticut Governor, Ned Lamont, ordered the closing of all public schools until March 31st. As of today, it does not look like schools will be opening on the projected date. In the instance that this is the case, and students are forced to stay home for a longer stretche of time, my school has decided to begin the implementation of Distance Learning. Tomorrow will start a fundamental, groundbreaking, and revolutionary evolution of how educators examine the role of technology in the instruction of our students. This shift in educating our youth will also undoubtably impact the way our students and children learn, communicate, and absorb information, regardless of how long this Distance Learning happens for.

I am anxious. As an educator, we fall into a rhythm from year to year, mastering our content and refining and improving the way in which we get our students to engage with the information, as well as refine their skills related to our content disciplines. This new directive for teaching sends us all back to the white board. We need to examine the instruction of our past and adapt it for the technology of now. 

I am also very excited. My classroom is already a digital classroom. I do not pass out papers to students, rather, I share the documents with them in Google Classroom; an online digital education platform. This change though, is not very drastic. While there is no physical paper, the digital document and activities are designed with the same concepts in mind, a place for note taking, a place for answering questions, and a place for reading information. Students in my classroom flip their chrome books around to show their work to their peers or to share information. Really, nothing different than a piece of paper, except with the access to the computer and the internet, students have the world of knowledge at their finger tips. This new learning we are about to embark on, surpasses the digital bounds of how I even viewed learning in the classroom.

Tomorrow, the faculty at my school will gather online in Google Meet, to begin our conversation about what this digital learning can look like. I purposefully used the word ‘can’ instead of ‘should’, or ‘will’, because we are embarking into uncharted territory. The ideas that are created over the next unknown period of time have no ceiling, and allow us as educators to embody the creativity that we hope for and demand from our students.  

I have so many hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties, related to this endeavor. Many of you who have read this far probably have children of your own who are about to engage in some form of digital learning themselves. I am going to be honest, this is going to be a struggle at first. It is going to be hard to manage a schedule, to split time between your work and keeping your child focused. But we are in this together, you, your child, and us educators. We will learn from each other, and while I will never get to meet you personally, I hope that if you choose to follow this, it gives you some insight into an educators perspective.