Literacy Lenses

Focusing on The Literacy Work that Matters

Aeriale Johnson: COVID-19 Through the Eyes of a Teacher

by Valinda Kimmel

She aches for the familiar routines and rituals of her brick-and-mortar school day and how she knew every loose tooth, every hurt feeling, in her students’ lives. Shaw holds a weekly evening circle time on Zoom, but she can’t get the kind of connection she’s used to with each student. –Angie Shaw, first grade teacher

I’ve been staring at a computer for eight solid hours, my eyes are strained, my shoulders are tense, and I have to keep reminding myself, all this is new, and we are all learning, and it will get easier, I hope.” — Rana El Yousef, high school chemistry teacher

When I’m with them, I can see what’s really going on with them,” she said. “But digitally, they can hide it: their joy. Their depression. Anybody can put their game face on for an hour on Zoom.” –Theresa Bruce, middle school history teacher

These moments, teaching from a distance due to an international pandemic, are unprecedented. Teachers don’t have the luxury of searching the internet, poring over professional books, or contacting other educators to ask, “What did you do? How did you teach, connect, care for your students during months of separation?”

We are all in the onerous position of navigating days for which there are no precedent. We’re at a loss for what to do, how to plan and support our students, where to go for answers to a million concerns about the families and kids we love.

Aeriale Johnson, guest host, for our recent #g2great chat shared her very personal thoughts about the varying emotions she is experiencing during COVID-19 in a recent blog post. We are grateful for her candor and for her willingness to join our weekly Twitter chat to give educators a place to process their varied range of feelings about teaching in this unusual time.

Share any thoughts about your COVID-19 experiences:

We talk often of late how hard distance learning is for kids and their families. It’s also incredibly hard on teachers. Thank goodness for online communities where teachers can gain encouragement from (and give it out as well) their professional peers.

Aeriale exhibits eloquently in her blog post how the process of writing is healing for some.

How are you using writing as a healing force for yourself? For your children?:

Writing is cathartic. In the process of putting words to paper, writers often makes sense of experiences, ideas, thoughts. Once again, we owe gratitude to Aeriale for her openness in sharing the conflict of these unusual days we are all experiencing.

COVID-19’s Got Me Feeling Some Kind of Way

I’m angry.

I’m shamefully content.

I’m angry that I live in a country where science is not heeded by government officials.

I’m shamefully content that I probably won’t be the one to die because I am educated.

I’m angry that I live in a society that is so grossly inequitable that children who live on the margins of it have to worry about food security during a pandemic.

I’m shamefully content in the joy the unexpected opportunity to spend time cooking my favorite recipes has brought me.

You can view the archive of this chat hosted by Aeriale Johnson at the wakelet for April 30, 2020.