Weekend Coffee Share: A Few Changes

If we were having coffee, I would greet you with a smile – but still no hug. Even though our numbers have gone down, people are still being cautious. Just seeing my friends, however, has been a big plus for me as I connect with those I care about.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that blogging (or any kind of social media) hasn’t been on my mind recently. As the temperatures have slowly crept up again, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about what going back to school will look like. The last few weeks have been uncertain as I keep checking my email and no news has been sent by the school board. The issue has been front and centre in the news as all the interested parties hash it out in the media. It has certainly been stressful as everything printed is conjecture and no certain decisions have been made.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the school board I work for (the TDSB) did propose a plan which was rejected by the Minister of Education for Ontario. The reason cited was that students would lose 49 minutes of learning time a day. On Friday I learned that the school board had propsed another plan. This plan must have been accepted as I received notification of it via email on Friday evening.

If we were having coffee, you may ask me what this plan is. Honestly I am happy to see that even within the school board, the plan is to spend more funds on the schools that need it; schools that are in areas of greater risk. I am a firm believer that the virus spreads a lot quicker in poverty-stricken areas as the people living below the poverty-line will have less resources to protect themselves and their community. In these areas, class sizes will be a lot smaller and the Board is on the hunt for other spaces that can be used to teach children outside of the school property.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the school I work at is not in a high risk area. So what does it mean for me personally? It means I will have a class of 20 students (which is per usual). The junior classes at our school will be capped at 27 – which is less than usual. We will now wait to see what happens because next week parents will fill in a survey to choose whether they want their children to have in-class sessions or virtual sessions. I will not be surprised if some kids at the school where I teach stay at home especially as there are a few stay-at-home moms in the area.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my class list, or even my assignment may change. Despite this, I will take the opportunity to go into school next week to label furniture that can be taken out of my room and to place desks to ensure that 20 students are able to keep their distance within the space. When I go in, I will also take to opportunity to have a chat with my principal.

If we were having coffee, you may say to me that all of this is last minute – and you would be right. School will be starting one week later to give everyone the time to get ready: class lists will need to be updated, teachers need to be rearranged, and timetables need to be reconstructed. We will be participating in Professional Activity days on 1, 2, and 3 September during which we will probably be involved in all of this as well as undergo training.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that during this past week I have seen some friends of mine. Before school starts I intend to see them as often as I can. I know when school starts up, I will have a lot to deal with: new students, the new school year and everything that comes with that, and dealing with all the expectations related to COVID-19 prevention. I need to take the opportunity to breathe deeply and relax before all that tension begins.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the upcoming week will be the last one before the school-related things begin. I intend to make the most of it.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Eclectic Ali and the Weekend Coffee Share)

21 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share: A Few Changes

  1. It is exciting and challenging times for sure. I believe we are going to tell our grandchildren about being a teacher during the 2020 pandemic. I wish you all the best as you start your new semester. Thank you for the coffee.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would tell you that I am in the same position. my school has decided to open ,with half classes, movement between buildings, added teachers, and strict health and cleaning guidelines. tomorrow I head there to organize furniture and meet with my team. no idea how it all will go

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    1. I do wish I would have less students but that is not to be. My class will be staying in the one room all day and have no interaction with others – it will be difficult for them, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve not taught classes for many years now myself, but my wife still does and she’s getting very tired of teaching via zoom conferences. In some ways it doubles her work and she only teaches adults.
    I can’t imagine how this is supposed to actually work for children. I trust your and your peers will find a way to make it work despite what the district comes up with. These are nuts days.
    Stay safe.

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    1. Personally I think that all the people who make such decisions decided to go on their summer holidays before taking the time to hash out these issues. And now we are left flailing in an uncertain future.

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  4. It’s a new way to start a school year for sure. Hang in there. I hope your upcoming week goes well and you have all the support you need at work. Thank you for the coffee share.

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  5. It’s the same here, Colline. You would think that there had been plenty of time to address the issues and formulate a plan but local schools are still in the dark about what is to happen in mid September. I know it’s a huge undertaking and I wish you well with it. I really do think that kids need other kids for their development. It’s been tough on only children.

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    1. I agree Jo. I think that the people who make the decisions took their summer break and now are trying to get everything together before the school year starts.

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  6. Good luck with your new school year. Keeping Social Distancing working with younger children may prove difficult 😉 I hope you have a wonderful group of students 🙂

    If we were having a Coffee I’d tell you about the terrible A-level’s results crisis in the UK and the mismanagement of the situation by our government. It resulted in mass protests by students many of whom had their grades lowered by an algorithm that seemed to favour schools like Eton while penalising students at local comprehensive schools in disadvantaged areas. A lot of students lost their University places as a result. After widespread anger among the children, their parents and teachers, the results were recalled and students were given their teacher predicted grades. Now the Universities are having to try and fit everyone in! The Government has a number of Old Etonians – which may explain their disinterest in looking after working-class students 😦

    My Son was lucky, as he was doing an old style BTEC course which relies on continuous assessment, his University already had a genuine grade for him and contacted him to assure him that he was in and would be doing his IT Cyber Security course.

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    1. I am not surprised they protested. It really irks me that the people in power are from privileged backgrounds and make decisions that impact negatively on those who are constantly being pushed out.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s nice to know that the start of school is going well for you and that priorities are given to those who need help the most. I hope your week is going well. My city is still getting increased cases and plans of doing a weekend lockdown for the sake of the health care sector. Staying positive in the midst of all of these. Thanks for coffee.

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