As many teachers are preparing to shift from completely virtual to a hybrid model, they have many questions about how to teach face to face during a pandemic. Here are some surprises and tips.
At this point, I have been teaching full-time, face to face during the pandemic for nearly six weeks. Such a weird statement. I would have never thought teaching face to face was something to be shocked at. However, I have learned so much myself during this strange time in history.
Kids are resilient!
Surprise 1: The kids are really awesome about wearing masks all day. Yes, we have the occasional student who likes to stick his or her nose out of the mask, but they really do a wonderful job at it. It has become their new normal. Kids are resilient!
Surprise 2: You, as a teacher, will become accustomed to the mask. Sometimes even when the students have left the classroom and I can take it off, I forget and leave it on! It’s become a new normal for even the adults.
7 Tips for Teaching Face to Face in a Pandemic:
Follow Established Protocols
- Follow the school guidelines and protocols for Corona Preventive Measures. They are there to protect everyone. At my particular school, we have a disinfecting schedule, socially distanced floor stickers, and touch-less hand sanitizers. The list goes on and on, and we have guidelines to use everything properly. Follow them closely.
Keep Classroom Cooler Than Normal
- If you have control over this, keep your classroom a bit on the cooler side. It helps with not getting so hot while wearing a mask and the cooler temperature aids in feeling like you can breathe better.
If Possible, Teach Outside
- Go outside! Explore the idea of outdoor classrooms. You can enjoy socially distanced outdoor mask breaks. You can teach outside and it’s a wonderful thing! Students can read a book and enjoy some fresh air. If a lesson just won’t work outside, open a window to let in some fresh air.
Use Yoga Mats for Outside Desks
- My school invested in yoga mats for every student for our outdoor classroom and their outside desks. (Brilliant idea!) If that’s not possible for your school to do, you can put a yoga mat for each child on your supply list. They average between 10-15 dollars and even at Five and Below, are 5 dollars. Students take their yoga mat outside and sit on them to read, do assignments, and even lay down to enjoy a read aloud.
Floor Markers for Social Distancing
- If given permission from your school, set up socially distanced floor markers in your classroom. I have a coffee farmhouse themed classroom, so I taped coffee bean posters around the floors next to the walls of my classroom. Students can go to their designated coffee bean while I disinfect and they can take a mask break.
- Choose a good quality mask and try it out beforehand. I purchased a couple of different masks and wore them at home for just a bit to see how I liked them. What I thought was going to be my favorite mask since it was soft and made of cotton material, was horrible because it sucked into my mouth every time I talked. You definitely can’t have that when teaching all day. A great place to purchase some high-quality masks that are adorable too is at Charlotte Mynt on Etsy.com. No, I am not an affiliate, I just love her masks.
- Take care of yourself. This whole way of teaching has never been done before, so give yourself some grace. Make sure to rest throughout the week. A tired, grumpy teacher is no good for his or her students during this crazy time in education.
Once you jump head first into teaching in-person during a pandemic, it feels overwhelming, but you will soon realize quickly that it actually is doable.
Do not be afraid of the unknown. We are teachers. We are rock stars and superheroes. Together, we can most definitely do this!