Teaching During a Pandemic: A Step-By-Step Overview

This 35-step overview will inform you of the daily processes that take place when teaching during a pandemic. Note that steps may vary pending your institution of employment. Be aware that results, too, will vary as will the level of your sanity. 

  1. Realize that the pandemic is going to last MUCH longer than you originally anticipated
  2. Be thankful your school is open, that you have a job, and that kids will be able to spend time with one another again
  3. Subsequently become overwhelmed with the thought of the multitude of changes that school administrators have been forced to put in place for this school year
  4. Revise your learning plans to accommodate both online and in-person learners (in some cases, you’ll need to teach both. At the same time.)
  5. Enter the school with a mask on, remembering to sanitize upon entry, completing your daily COVID questionnaire, and signing in using your school’s online contract tracing platform
  6. Follow the markings on the floors to ensure that traffic is moving in one constant direction for each side of the hallway
  7. Consider that the above change might actually be useful to keep for teenagers in a  post COVID era
  8. Enter your office, but only if the room isn’t at capacity and everyone remains 6 feet apart (if your office is barely 6 feet wide, consider if this is possible)
  9. Quickly make last-minute adjustments to your lesson which you should have done the night before but didn’t because you convinced yourself that you’d have enough time in the morning (spoiler: you don’t)
  10. Enter your classroom and examine that what use to hold 20+ students now only seats 10 spaced out 2 meters apart
  11. Reconsider your plans for any group work in the foreseeable future
  12. Wonder where the remainder of your class will be given the current capacity limits of the classroom and ponder the process for determining which students will be in the classroom and which will be in an additional space
  13. Remember that inbetween steps 4 and 5 you were supposed to have made this determination already. You didn’t already do that? Oops, it must have been in an email that was sent on a Sunday
  14. Forgive yourself for not checking or responding to emails on a Sunday because you want to keep your sanity intact (on the surface at least). Also, forgive those who sent the Sunday email because they’re doing their best!
  15. Consider the challenges of educational equity of having to teach two groups of students at once and the OCT limitations that don’t permit your leaving a group of learners despite having to potentially teach between two spaces within the same lesson
  16. Realize that we’ve already had 15 steps and haven’t even begun to teach the students yet
  17. Ensure that students enter the room wearing masks, maintain physical distancing measures, follow the classroom schedule set out for them, sign in to your school’s contract tracing app, and are having a positive classroom experience in spite of the first four parts of this step
  18. Realize that you’ve forgotten to sign in to the contract tracing app yourself (this step will be repeated at various points throughout the day)
  19. Take attendance of students in two different locations and, if you’re teaching one of those spaces remotely, ensure that your online learners can hear you and are not having tech. issues
  20. Hope that you don’t have tech. issues throughout the lesson: such problems might hinder your ability to teach learners in multiple locations and could disrupt your lesson plan
  21. Remember Be reminded to screen share for your online learners so that they can see what the classroom learners see
  22. Sound like a broken record and encourage online learners to keep their cameras on since they are only in another classroom just down the hall
  23. Try to answer student questions and have a classroom discussion so that all learners, both in class and online, can hear what is being said properly
  24. Revisit strategies in support of the previous step as needed (it will be needed)
  25. Inevitably move outside of the designated teaching box that has been assigned to you because there is no possible way to address individual learners and their needs from the other side of the classroom
  26. Be there to support your learners as needed by being flexible with your learning plans, due dates, amount of content, and expectations. Students deserve it and so do you
  27. Be transparent with your learners in modelling your mistakes so that they can see how to correct these mistakes in real-time for themselves
  28. Tell students that this year will look different and that you’ll get through it together. On that note, wipe down and sanitize your learning spaces once class is over
  29. Receive yet another email about an upcoming change to the school schedule which further compounds your ongoing and ever-present confusion
  30. Have perspective in the fact that administrators are doing their best to guide and support teachers during a pandemic for which they were never trained
  31. Be thankful once more that schools are open and that students are back in the classroom
  32. Remember that, despite the pains of this new process, it still beats the ever-possible alternative
  33. Remind yourself of why you entered into the profession
  34. Realize that education is all about the students and about connection. Regardless of where students are learning, education has always been about connection
  35. Rush to your next class or co-curricular commitment and repeat as needed


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3 thoughts on “Teaching During a Pandemic: A Step-By-Step Overview

  1. Thanks for sharing. My list would have 36. Realize you will be too busy to reflect on this experience as it goes along. Try to follow other educators through their blogs and tweets so you see you are not in this alone!

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