This is my final attempt to document and process returning to the classroom during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

There are fourteen more days until the end of this school year. This has been the most challenging, frustrating, scary, life-threatening school year in my 20-year career in public education. I have never put more of myself into my students. I have never been this vulnerable. I have never been this scared. I have never felt this helpless. As I race to the finish of this pandemic school year, I feel defeated and exhausted. I know that I did the best I could with the tools I have. …


This is my attempt to document and process returning to the classroom during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been over 40 days since my last post. Teaching has always been an all-consuming profession. Teaching in a pandemic has tested the will and skill, mental and physical endurance of all educators.

I’m exhausted every single day.

Our school district returned to in-person learning after five weeks of remote learning. It was frustrating and scary to return to the classroom for a number of reasons. I didn’t (and still don’t) fully trust that our schools are safe from COVID-19. Remote teaching was difficult, but after five weeks, my students were responding well: turning in more assignments and projects…


This is my attempt to document and process returning to the classroom during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

Dear students,

In August, we had no idea what it would look like (or feel like) going to school during a global pandemic. I’m sure many of you were hopeful that starting the fifth grade would be similar to starting any new grade level: butterflies in your stomach on the first day of school, meeting a new teacher, seeing old friends, and learning new classroom rules and procedures. Some of you may have been extra nervous because you knew it would be different; you may not have been able to articulate how, but you intuited that this year would be…


This is my attempt to document and process returning to the classroom during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

We are finally moving to remote learning. After three months of in-person instruction, over 100 students and 50 teachers in our district have been infected with the coronavirus. Daily COVID-19 cases, incidence rates, and daily hospitalizations are all growing exponentially.

It has been one hell of a trimester. I am amazed (and eternally grateful) that I have not contracted the coronavirus. I have had multiple students in my own classroom be exposed because of family members contracting COVID-19. We have had dozens of students in our building either get COVID-19 or have sick family members, forcing multiple cohorts of teachers…


This is my attempt to document and process returning to the classroom during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

Today marks the end of the first trimester of this school year. I haven’t written much (aside from evening journaling) in these last couple of months because teaching keeps me busy. Teaching in a pandemic exhausts me beyond comprehension. I come home every evening, a dead man walking, take a shower to decontaminate myself (I’m not sure if this is necessary, but my germ-phobic brain feels relief after I have washed away the day in hot, soapy water), check in with my family (my own kids are doing remote learning, so I usually have a punch list of technology troubleshooting…


This is my attempt to document and process my return to the classroom during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

This week was surreal. I felt more like a warden than a teacher. Most of my day was spent disinfecting desks and directing kids to wash their hands, keep their masks on their faces, and distance themselves from each other. It felt like one of the longest work weeks of my career.

Here are my reflections from each day of the week.

Monday

I wrote about the first day of school in a separate post here.

Tuesday

I found a note on the floor at the end of the day. It crushed me.

It never feels good to have a student complain…


This is my attempt to document and process my return to the classroom during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

I wrote this at the end of my first day of school.

I’m alone in my classroom; alone with my thoughts for the first time since I got to school this morning.

COVID testing first thing in the morning

This morning was rough. I had to rush to get to school on time after my biweekly COVID-19 test. This is another routine I am forced to create for myself since our school district decided to have in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. It would be nice if the testing site was closer to the school or my home, instead of thirty minutes away. …


This is my attempt to document and process returning to the classroom during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

On Day 30 of quarantine, I decided to return to the classroom. I had taken a six-year hiatus to be an instructional coach. I wanted to have a greater impact in my school district, so I left the classroom to mentor teachers and administrators, helping them be more innovative and creative in their classrooms and school buildings. I have taught for 17 years. This global health crisis is giving me the opportunity to reevaluate my mission as a public educator. I value mentoring students and helping them find their voices in order to change schools and society. …


5. Departure (Crossing the First Threshold)

This is part of a personal narrative series detailing my quest to be a teacher.

This is the departure when the hero feels something has been lost and goes to find it. You are to cross the threshold into new life. It’s a dangerous adventure, because you are moving out of the sphere of the knowledge of you and your community.

— Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

I believe that five and six-year old children are impressionable beings. They are still learning right from wrong and are testing boundaries with their friends, family and teachers. They see…


4. Assistance (Meeting the Mentor)

This is part of a personal narrative series detailing my quest to be a teacher.

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasures you seek.

— Joseph Campbell

Preservice teacher courses were different. Instead of large lecture halls, we sat in small classrooms. Instead of rows upon rows of lecture chairs, we sat in circles of chairs facing our classmates. Instead of passively listening and taking notes, we engaged in lively discussions and listened to anecdotal stories from the field. Instead of ivory tower professors, we had active teacher professors who were still teaching in public classrooms. When I…

Adrian Neibauer

I am a learning experience designer. I’m an intellectual thinker. I push the boundaries of what’s possible. I have lots stories to tell and change to make.

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