Teaching in 2020: Some Reminders for Myself and Others

BY: LIZ JORGENSEN

“And I knew exactly what to do. But in a much more real sense, I had no idea what to do.”

-Michael Scott

Dear West Virginia teachers,

This may very well be the most unique Back-to-School Eve of our careers. I have spent the past few months watching the news as politicians capitalize on a global health crisis for political gains and use teachers and students as their pawns in the game. Then, once the Powers That Be finally settled on some plans for the school year, I have spent the past few weeks trying to rethink every single procedure and teaching method I employ to make my classroom less of a COVID petri dish. And I know that most of you have been doing the same thing.

The past few weeks have felt like trying to climb up a greased waterslide and continually slipping back down. Or building a plane while flying it. Or living through one of those teacher nightmares when you show up to school with no lesson plans, no copies made, and no pants on. (No, I have not shown up for teacher planning days pants-less. But it’s a pretty apt analogy when it feels like your pedagogical world is turned upside down.)

When you’re caught in a whirlwind of uncertainty, it can be hard to get grounded. I know that I will need to remind myself of some fundamental truths daily, if not minute-ly, tomorrow and in the days that follow. So, here’s me talking to you, and also talking to me in the process.

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