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A Recap of 2020 So Far in the Life of a Teacher


A Recap of 2020 So Far in the Life of a Teacher

What a strange year of teaching this has been! These past 8.5 months have been… um…. interesting? Yeah, let’s go with that. It’s hard to believe just how much has happened to us teachers over the last year, so let’s take a look back at where we were at the beginning of the year and how we got to where we are now.

January – When we were all excited about the new year, the new decade, 2020, here we come…

It was a much simpler time. We were all so young and foolish. Watching the ball drop as the year changed over in 2020, there was no way of knowing what portal to hell we were clearly opening. If New Year’s Eve had been a movie, the countdown to midnight would have been shot in slow motion with some creepy dramatic music playing over the top of it as we all cluelessly celebrated the arrival of the year to come.

February – When on top of being flu season, we find out there’s now another virus starting to spread around the world…

We didn’t need the CDC to tell us that washing hands and disinfecting is critical. Teachers have been preventing the spread of viruses for years. Why do you think we go through so many bottles of hand sanitizer every year? Because schools are germ factories and making sub plans and finding a sub is harder than going to school sick and suffering through it.

March – When that “extended spring break” turned into a whole new world of hurt…

For one brief moment, teachers thought an extra week or two of spring break would be awesome. Who doesn’t need an extra break around March? I’m sure school districts will come up with a really great plan while we’re gone and then this will all blow over and we can all go back to normal.

April – The month where chaos reigned in homes around the world… 

When we said we needed a break from school, this is not what we meant! By the time April rolled around normal had flown out the window. Heck, normal packed its bags, hopped on a spaceship, and flew to a distant planet never to be seen again. Suddenly classroom teachers had to magically learn how to teach virtually. Children were home all day driving parents crazy. Teachers were trying to teach children who were home driving their parents crazy, which drove parents even crazier. Teachers with their own kids at home were homeschooling while teaching from afar and worrying about their “other kids.” It was sheer insanity; teachers turned shower walls into whiteboards, phones wedged between cans of beans became document cameras, and no one really knew what the heck was going on.

May – When teachers were treated like royalty and heroes…

Amidst the chaos of virtual schooling, there was a brief, fleeting period of time where parents suddenly realized that teachers do a lot for their children. It took a global pandemic, but suddenly teachers were being lauded, praised, and honored for all the hard work we do each and every day. As the world hid inside from a global pandemic, we the teachers finally felt 2 inches taller from appreciation… but only for a couple of weeks.

June – When the most challenging school year finally came to an end…

Somehow we made it to June, and none of us knew how. We had survived the most insane end of the school year we had ever experienced in our lives. Teachers looked forward to the next few weeks of sleeping and social distancing from their laptops. Every teacher looks forward to summer, but this year we had earned it like never before.

However, this was also the beginning of the biggest civil rights movement in world history. Teachers and students around the world took to the streets and social media to raise awareness of racism and put an end to white supremacy and police violence toward Black people. Important and difficult conversations were started, and teachers everywhere stood up for the lives of their students, colleagues, friends, and families.

July – When we went from being hardworking heroes to lazy babysitters almost overnight…

As summer progressed a weird thing happened. This whole pandemic thing didn’t go away. In fact, in a lot of places it got worse… a lot worse. All of a sudden we were faced with having to return to school when many thought it wasn’t safe to do so. What do we do? What’s the plan? 

Turns out there wasn’t really much of a plan except for having school district officials and politicians yelling at each other while parents all decided it was time to go back to treating teachers like crap. Yup, we went from revered professionals to lazy good-for-nothings in 2 short months. All because we had the nerve to say we didn’t want to die. Crazy right?

August – When teachers started coming back to school and realized what a mess this year was going to be…

As the summer progressed it was pretty obvious no one had any idea what was going to happen when schools reopened. So officials started throwing ideas into a blender, pressing the “frappe” button and pouring it on teachers’ heads, which was a gigantic disaster. Teaching in person? Teaching virtually? Teaching both at the same time? Who knows! Every day, teachers would have questions that administrators would answer with such phrases as “We don’t know” or “We’ll look into that” or the ever-popular “We have a plan for dealing with that, but we’re not quite ready to share that plan with you right now.”

September – The literal floating dumpster fire…

And that brings us to now. Schools are reopening and no one really has a clue as to what’s going on and how any of this is going to work. Some teachers are trying to figure out how to teach a classroom full of students AND run a zoom classroom at the same time. Others are going crazy designing a seating chart that somehow allows 25 students to socially distance in a classroom the size of a postage stamp. And every time you get a handle on what’s happening, the rules change again! Yesterday’s plans become today’s garbage pile. 


Where does it go from here? One would think it would likely get better. I mean it’s hard to imagine things getting any worse. Then again… didn’t we just say that a few months ago?

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A Recap of 2020 So Far in the Life of a Teacher

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David Rode

Dave is a middle school math teacher. He's also a musician, a community theater, dad to two amazing children, and he doesn't get a lot of sleep.

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