What Will Classrooms Look Like in the Fall?

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What will classrooms look like in the fall? Writing this post feels like the moment that we have all reluctantly been waiting for. A month ago (for some of us, depending on what area you live in), we were on auto-pilot and/or in survival mode. Teaching remotely became our must-do overnight. For me, it wasn’t necessarily pretty. I felt motivated to keep moving forward for my students, but I wasn’t enjoying teaching remotely. Now that I have been officially out of school for a month, I am wondering what classrooms will look like in the fall.

Initially, I was dreading the end of the school year as it approached. Surely, THIS year wasn’t going to just come to an end like this, right? Like this? Not even a sliver of a chance that I might see my kids one more time? I just needed to squeeze their little bodies just one more time. Can’t do that? No? Okay, then at least let me see them and wave good-bye to them.

Fast Forward to Summer Vacay

Finally! Thank you, blessed Universe, for realizing that I was on the verge and couldn’t take much more emotionally. Summer vacation! Yes, please and thank you. Hold on. Maybe not. HA HA. Yes, I’m out of the classroom and detached from my computer. Yet, another conversation is swirling around. That of what school will look like in the Fall.

What will classrooms look like in the Fall? Are we going back to brick and mortar (Don’t you just love how we create our own terms in the midst of things?) in August? Me: Surely not. We can’t! Could we? How does social distancing work in a square? There’s is nowhere near 6 feet of space between 18-ish students at any given time inside of my classroom. Not in the hallways either, for that matter.

Will we never sit on the carpet together or have small groups at the back table? I call it “The Back Table” with my kids. That statement actually brings a smile to my face and a single tear (okay, maybe two or three) to my eyes. I haven’t said that in what seems like forever. Am I to assume that there won’t be another reading, writing, or math group for a very long time?

Actually, my kids just liked to sit back there to either spread out a little bit or to simply be next to me. That last reason is my absolute favorite. My students are the absolute best thing about teaching. Truly, they are.

An image of a classroom with the seats distanced.  Students are seated in each seat, smiling and looking towards the camera.

Many Conversations and Keeping Us Hanging

So, __________ (insert administrators name here), what will classrooms look like in the fall? Are we actually returning to the building in the fall? Response: Ummm, they (Don’t you love the “theys” that run everything?) haven’t said anything specifically, yet. But most likely, we will begin the year virtually and then shift to brick and mortar in October/November. Inwardly, I groan.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I did not enjoy remote teaching! Yeah, no! Maybe it was the Zoom lesson where one of my little boys fell asleep directly in front of the camera that was the last straw for me? Or, perhaps it was the student and his little sister that got into a “pillow fight” with their stuffed lion while I was teaching. I don’t know… I just couldn’t stand it. However, I did like the “just because” Zoom meetings where we just spent time together, talked, got caught up, and laughed.

Part Virtual AND Part Brick and Mortar

Well, so far, this is the information that we are receiving. My county is actually surveying parents and giving them the option to choose whether or not their student will return to the school building for the first 9 Weeks or if they will begin virtually. Then, they will base their staffing placements based upon those identified needs. Those teachers that teach remotely, will have to go into a designated building to teach virtually throughout the day and demonstrate that they are “working”. Yep!

They even made a comment about how things would not be conducted the same way as they were during the initial onset of COVID19. Oh my gosh, really? We were all trying to survive! S-U-R-V-I-V-E! Let’s be honest and fair for a moment. You want to hold teachers accountable for “what they were doing 8 hours a day during virtual teaching”?

Mirror, please ask the administrators and school board members what they were doing daily. Sorry, I couldn’t hear you. You prepared how many videos and counseled how many students that were saddened by not being with their friends? How many times did you have to explain when we could return to school? Did you now? Uh, huh. How many endless Google Classroom assignments did you have to read through, comment on, and grade? Wow, that many! Okay, I can cut the sarcasm. Can you feel me, though?

Some health care professionals are adding to the conversation on school re-opening. You may want to read this article that was posted on NPR that says that Pediatricians are calling for schools to reopen in the fall. Find out why!

What Will the Fall Look Like for You?

Here is another article that summarizes possible classroom re-entry styles for the fall. Which one(s) sounds plausible to you?

Once our families return their surveys, I will come back and share more with you. In the meantime, leave a comment to let me know what your school systems have decided, or are planning, for this upcoming school year. I would also LOVE to know how you feel about it! Drop a comment below and share away.

If you are getting a jump start on back to school, here are a few resources that you may find helpful:

Alphabet Posters: Brights

These are my favorite! They are fresh and bright, and they give students visual supports that are different; allowing them to expand their vocabulary. You will love them!

Dismissal Backpack Tags

For me, these backpack tags are a lifesaver! I write my students’ bus numbers or how they travel home on them. Then, I laminate them and attach them to their backpacks. It makes knowing how they go home quick, easy, and safer.

Behavior Modification Visual Cue Cards, Set 1

They are remarkable teaching tools! Support students in making/choosing more positive and productive behaviors. Say no more! Provide a visual (picture) cue that prompts positive behavior choices.

I think that these resources will really help you kickoff this fall in a positive and less stressful light!

Stay safe and healthy,

Photos courtesy of:

Rubén Rodriguez on Unsplash

Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

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