I had incredibly high hopes that school would be opening with an obvious contrast to last year. Sadly some of the same things that make being a Teacher of the Deaf are still going to be in place. I survived it last year and I know I can do it again.
My prep this year is a bit different because I put some things in place last year that will make this years start up smoother and less foreign. These strategies and tools were a bit overwhelming last year, but as with most things repetition and familiarity can make things easier. Being ready and really being ready is my current challenge.
Last year to limit cross contamination, between students, I put cute metal carts in multiple buildings. These carts were stocked with whatever we would need for sessions. They were incredibly helpful, organized and mobile. I love that having something on wheels. If I was relocated for the day, I would just wheel my materials away! This was efficient and also great for my back. I love to joke that I sometimes feel like I’m carrying the world. In actuality, I am at times…my little world, but none the less little worlds get heavy, so portability was key last year and will be again.
Masks don’t seem to be going away, so wearing the right one is essential for surviving a school day. I started 2020 with all the cute fabric and clear panel masks I could find or afford. I played around with all the varieties and discovered my students preferred the disposable masks for their auditory needs. Let be clear…no pun intended, that the clear panel masks were great in theory, but were awful in application.
So, with that being my findings from last year I have already stocked up on disposable masks. I hate throwing them away, but they are the best fit for my situation, so disposable it is. I really wore black a lot, so I decided to try out cute patterned disposable masks. My hope is pretty patterns will lift my mood.
Tools and Resources
For years I have carried my tool bag that has all the things we need for sessions, but with the worry and possibility of cross contamination I made sure every student had individual and dedicated tools and materials. I will be doing this again this year. It is more for me to set up, but it was mentally worth it. My students also felt safe and secure, so that was a total win.
In the spring I took my carts and materials home. Everything has been reviewed, evaluated and wiped for this new year. I do this every June, but never before have I spent such mental thought about who gets what resources. Will I be able to rotate (with sanitization) and should I consider buying duplicates? I decided that I wasn’t going to purchase duplicates, but find ways to make what I have work. I’m sure there will be further posts on how I am making everything work in 2021-2022.
Going forward and trying to not dwell on all of the difficulties and negativity from last year. I am hoping 21-22 will be positive, productive and peaceful. Here’s to another year.