A Rundown of Teacher Life in 2020: As Told By the Cast of Friends

It’s certainly been quite the year, hasn’t it? We’ve had ups and downs (and more downs, then some insanely low points), but we managed to survive. Here’s our review of being a teacher in 2020 as told by the cast of Friends.

1. January

The one where teachers begrudgingly came back to school after the holidays

There’s nothing quite like winter break, and there’s also nothing quite like coming back from winter break. Two weeks of bliss is always followed by the thud of returning to school in January and charging ahead into the 2nd half of the school year. No matter how long the break might be, we’re always left wanting just one more day.

2. February

The one where teachers had almost gotten through flu season and a world pandemic of another virus was being announced

February was the first month many of us had heard the word “coronavirus”. After going through an entire flu season, all of a sudden everyone started getting serious about washing hands and sanitizing. As if teachers hadn’t been preaching that every day for the past 100 years!

3. March

The one where teachers and students had to move online and figure everything out overnight

One day we were all teaching and learning in our classrooms, and the next minute the entire world turned upside down. Teachers had to figure out how to teach online on the fly. Students had to adjust to learning online. All this happened while everybody was worried, scared, and unsure of what was going to happen next.

4. April

The one where teachers realized they’d never get to be in their classroom with the same group of students again

It was in April that it became pretty apparent that we wouldn’t be heading back to school anytime soon. That was when it started to sink in that we’d never get a proper goodbye with our kiddos. Sure, we were pushing forward with online learning, but it just wasn’t the same. We’d never get those personal connections back again.

5. May

The one where teachers were finally (but momentarily) appreciated and respected by all

As the school year plodded on in virtual form, parents started to finally realize that teachers actually do a lot of work. Suddenly they were helping their children with their assignments and saw a small part of the massive tsunami of responsibilities teachers deal with on a daily basis. And for one brief shining moment, teachers were recognized for all the hard work we do. Naturally, it didn’t last, but boy that was a great month, wasn’t it?

6. June

The one where teachers watched politicians come up with plans for reopening schools

Huzzah! Summer finally arrived and teachers got a break they so badly deserved. But hang on just a minute because we all know the next school year is always just right around the corner. And summer 2020 was spent waiting to find out what the new school year would look like. We all had to watch in horror as people who have never taught before started deciding how to handle teaching in a pandemic.

7. July

The one where teachers were being called lazy and selfish for wanting everyone to be safe before returning to school in the middle of a pandemic

Remember when parents were helping their children with at-home learning and realized teachers were truly underappreciated? That was long over by July. As COVID-19 numbers got worse, teachers started to suggest that maybe we shouldn’t be cramming kids in classrooms. People went right back to calling us crybabies (and worse). Well, the support and praise were nice while it lasted anyway.

8. August

The one where teachers were told they’d have to teach online and in-person… AT THE SAME TIME

As if coming back to school wasn’t stressful enough, teachers got an extra kick to the midsection when many of us discovered that we’d be teaching kids in person and online… At. The. Same. Time. Needless to say, teachers weren’t thrilled with that news. Teachers were even less thrilled when they asked for help and school districts responded with such pearls of wisdom that amounted to, “Meh, you’ll figure it out.” We realized the spring was just a taste of what we’d encounter as a teacher in 2020.

9. September

The one where we finally got to see our teacher besties again

After months of isolation, remote learning, and quarantine insanity, we finally got to go back to school! No, seriously, some of us were actually excited this time because, even though it was through screens or masks, we got to see our students again, and we got to hang out with our teacher buddies whom we sorely missed. It was a really nice reunion, even if it did happen in the middle of a global catastrophe.

10. October

The one where teaching during a pandemic wasn’t enough, so we had to throw in 2 full moons and a Halloween candy rush, the day before turning the clocks back

Once the school year lost its newness, the insanity started flooding in. Daily schedule changes, the craziness of Halloween, TWO full moons in the same month (seriously, who’s deranged joke was that?), and a time change had everyone a little on edge. And there we were, just desperately trying to keep it together.

11. November

The one where teachers battled post-Halloween and election madness, longing for the Thanksgiving break

If there was any hope that November would be a calmer month, that was tossed out the window almost immediately. The election dragged on (and on and on and on), and as we got closer to the holidays our classrooms began resembling a whirling tornado of insanity. Throw in a Friday the 13th for good measure and it became clear early on that this month was going to be a rough one.

12. December

The one where we all finally get to say goodbye to 2020

Teaching in the middle of the holiday season is always a white-knuckle experience, and no doubt 2020 will find some way to make it even more so. But no matter what happens, this month and the entire year will come to an end. We will all be able to say we survived the most bizarre year any of us has ever seen and we’ll be able to put our feet up, relax and know that if we can survive 2020, we can withstand just about anything. So enjoy winter break, teachers, because you definitely deserve every last bit of it… until you realize it’s January once again.


Thanks to the Friends cast for helping us recap what life was like as a teacher in 2020.

Also Check Out:

A Rundown of Teacher Life in 2020: As Told By the Cast of Friends

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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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