10 Things Teachers Took for Granted Before 2020 and Can’t Wait to Do Again

10 Things I Took for Granted as a Teacher Before 2020

So much about teaching changed in 2020. Here are 10 formally normal things teachers can’t wait to do after the pandemic and life gets back to normal (whatever that is) at school.

1. Assigning group projects instead of constant lectures

Classrooms are currently set up in rows, three to six feet away from each other if possible, or in boxes on computer screens. As nice as Zoom breakout rooms are, sitting together in groups in person is much more engaging. Teachers talk so much right now without the break of group projects. When this is all over, lectures have to go for a while.

2. Sharing supplies

Who would have imagined that after all of this, the thought of sharing supplies would be a dream come true? Not having to baggie up crayons and glue sticks for each kid, sanitize Chromebooks after each use or have kids sneak shared scissors under desks like it’s a kidney on the black market sounds awesome.

3. Walking around the classroom

How do people sit at a computer screen all day? Seriously? Our necks and lower backs are stiff all the time. We wear blue light glasses and sit on heating pads. Getting up to walk to the bathroom or refill a water bottle feels like dragging lead. We need to circulate classrooms, to have small talk with our kids, and get our steps in. Our watches and fitness bands are screaming at us. We can’t wait to be on the move when the pandemic is over.

4. Using the “teacher look” to its full power after the pandemic

One thing that all teachers have in common is the teacher look, you know, the one that is intimidating enough to stop kids in the grocery from misbehaving and have other adults question their choices. A masked teacher look pales in comparison, without the clenched jaw, it loses its full power.

5. Talking to my students without pets or grown-ups interrupting

Remember the good old days of being able to talk to students without interruptions, other than the random call or note from the office? Now we are teaching to pets, grown-ups who don’t know they aren’t muted, other grown-ups interrupting with questions or walking around in the background distracting the class. Give me my four classroom walls of inclusion and privacy after the pandemic.

6. Spending time with teacher friends

When we’re lucky, we get 30 minutes a day of adult time a day – when we aren’t working through our lunch that is. After the pandemic, it will be nice to get to enjoy that time with our colleagues without the constant worry that we are spreading the virus and fear that we will be the reason the entire school gets quarantined.

7. Busting out the stickers and stamps

Sometimes it’s the little things we miss the most, like the excitement of putting emoji stamps and holiday stickers on hands for jobs well done.

8. Moving seats without measuring the inches

Classroom management in the time of Covid isn’t always easy. We can mute kids on Zoom, but dealing with the distracted, non-engaged, or sleepy is difficult. And, rearranging seats in person means creating an entirely new seating chart and getting it to administration for contact-tracing purposes. Who has the time? After the pandemic, those kids can move right back to seats closest to the teacher’s desk and all will be right with the classroom. 

9. Giving handshakes and hugs

Youtube and TikTok have seen many teacher/student interactions go viral recently, but the truth is as teachers we have always known the powers of these connections, and we desperately miss them. We need National Hug your Teacher All Day Day after the pandemic.

10. Having epic class parties

Bring on the pizza, because we all freaking deserve it! And the cupcakes, too!


10 Things I Took for Granted as a Teacher Before 2020

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Senior Member

Samantha is a high school English teacher from Monroe, Ohio, as well as a momma to three boys and a wife. She has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction, but spends most of her days looking for missing Crocs and correcting grammar mistakes. Between soccer practices, grading papers, and trying to keep up with laundry (ha!), things get pretty busy. And, with three boys things also get pretty loud! But in between the chaos she writes. 

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