15 Oh-So-Relatable Struggles of Teaching with a Mask

15 Oh-So-Relatable Struggles of Teaching with a Mask

Educators are experts at planning for the unexpected, going with the flow, and dealing with all of the challenges that get thrown their way in the classroom. A notable new challenge has been the adventure of teaching with a mask on. While you’ve joined the rest of the population with common mask challenges, here are some unique challenges that you’ll recognize if you’ve been masked in the classroom.

1. You feel like there’s a breath sauna on your face.

Teaching with a mask on makes you lucky enough to feel like you’re at a spa every time you talk. Except instead of steam, it’s a pocket of your breath. And instead of smelling essential oils, you smell your breath.

2. Breath mints are a much bigger part of your life now.

Speaking of breath, you’ve gotten a little too familiar with the smell of your own mouth, and you’re starting to feel bad for the kids who didn’t have a barrier in previous years.

3. You mouth bad words because kids can’t see it.

As a teacher, you’re probably pretty good at using cute expletives (which may or may not have been inspired by The Good Place). But now that your face is covered, you’re getting a little too comfortable with mouthing the real versions of those words because no one can see it.

4. You’re so good at projecting that you’ve forgotten how to speak at a normal volume.

You spend all day fighting your mask as it attempts to ruin the acoustics of your lessons, so it’s hard to adjust back to regular decibels.

5. You’re ready to be a voice analyst for the FBI.

Since you can’t see your students’ mouths moving, you are now an expert at recognizing which voice belongs to which kid. You also know who’s laughing, who’s whispering, and who’s singing.

6. When you’re maskless on Zoom, you hear that your face looks “weird.”

Yes, it’s undeniable that you look great in your mask because it makes your eyes pop, but you try not to get offended by the fact that your kids are just blatantly insulting your appearance at this point.

7. You’ve started chugging your morning coffee.

Since your mouth is covered during class, you’re constantly debating the lesser of two evils as you choose between a burnt mouth and a caffeine headache.

8. You’re alarmingly aware of kids’ noses.

This wasn’t something you ever noticed before, but you have a new spidey sense that tells you when there’s an uncovered nose in the vicinity.

9. You enunciate so much that you could master any tongue twister.

You feel like you’re constantly doing voice warm-ups so you can clearly articulate everything you say, and you’re ready to give Ron Burgundy a run for his money.

10. Your updated teacher look is giving you forehead wrinkles.

You know that the top half of your face needs to pack a serious punch when you give *the look,* so you’ve been raising your eyebrows higher than they’ve ever been raised.

11. You’re also getting eye wrinkles from smizing too hard.

You’re trying out your own version of the Tyra Banks smize, so you’re doing a lot of squinting to prove to your kids that you’re smiling.

12. The idea of having food in your teeth isn’t scary anymore.

For once in your life, you feel absolutely no sense of dread when you find food in your teeth at the end of a long day.

13. You feel like you’re losing your hearing prematurely.

You might be able to recognize their voices, but you’ve found yourself asking kids to repeat themselves at least once every single day of the year. You’re also looking for new terms that sound more professional than “WHAT?”.

14. You can’t wear glasses to hide your exhaustion.

You miss being able to cover up those signs of sleep deprivation by switching to glasses for the day. Unfortunately, you truly cannot teach with glasses on unless you have a tiny set of windshield wipers.

15. Your dehydration is making you lose your powerful bladder control.

As a teacher, you have prided yourself on having a bladder of steel, but drinking less water means you don’t get to face the challenge of holding in your pee like you did in the old days.

The life of a masked teacher is not necessarily an enviable one, but at least you have more material for your future comedy specials…right? Now go take a mask break – you deserve it!

Come join the #teacherlife community for more fun!


Teaching with 
a Mask

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Emmy Weiner

Veteran Member

Emmy is a 6th grade English teacher who is obsessed with stories, grammar, and middle schoolers! When she's not teaching (or thinking about teaching), you can find her reading, watching TV, eating ice cream, or shopping in the Target dollar section.

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