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My school finishes officially on Thursday. This will be my last year; I gave notice in March that I would be leaving at the end of the school year. I leave with my professional relationships in a good place, which I think is always preferable.
It’s been a long year. Some of you might remember the post I wrote after the first day of school when I was overwhelmed by the demands of the new hybrid year. The prospect of nine months surrounded by those cables and machines was intimidating. It got better, as all things do in time, but it remained exhausting to teach remote and in-person students simultaneously. Students and their parents took advantage of the school’s generous remote option. A doctor’s appointment at 3 pm became an excuse not to come to school at all that day and to attend classes remotely, turning what might have been a pleasant and traditional “in-person” class into a dreadful experience with the Teams video (the student always had their camera off, protesting, “my computer is broken, it’ll be fixed soon”). Any exercise planned for in-person had to be scrapped in favor of something that could be done with the remote student. These changes were often discovered last minute, 5-10 minutes before class. Some students simply didn’t come to school at all, even if they hadn’t applied for the remote option; they were just remote every day without an excuse because they “didn’t feel well.” Other students were discovered to be working in public-facing jobs after school at retail stores even though they had applied to be remote students for the year, which made teachers incredulous (to say the least). They went to great lengths to prepare their virtual lessons using new technology they had adopted this year to accommodate the remote students and yet from 3:30 pm, those remote students were working the cash register at The Gap in busy suburban malls, surrounded by people. The administration took note of low teacher morale and tried to take a stand in the 4th quarter but by then it was a bit late.