Mamie Krupczak Allegretti teaches French. She described how her teaching will change when school reopens during the pandemic. The lesson I draw from her note is that the most pressing issue facing our nation is not opening the schools but getting the disease under control so it is safe to return to school.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I am actually going to teach if we go back to school in person.

I think people might have the idea that everything will be “normal” in schools if we go back in person. Kids will be able to socialize and everything will be fine.

I imagine me standing more than 12 feet from the kids giving a lesson. I’m wearing a mask and a face shield and kids are wearing masks (hopefully). They all have their laptops in front of them. After I give my spiel, they do some work on the laptop and submit it to me.

All the windows are open regardless of outside temperature.

I am NOT circulating around the room helping kids. I will have students minimize talking so as not to spread the virus (or other cold, flu germs for that matter!!!).

I may hand out papers but to do this I will have to go into the faculty room (which is small and has no windows) to make copies. I’m NOT going to have students hand in any papers. There won’t be any group or pair work.

Since we won’t be able to do that, what will I substitute for communicative activities (I teach French.)? Maybe we will watch more French movies. Maybe I’ll read them a French book. They may do more writing on their laptops. No more art projects because even if they have their own materials, they will want to talk to each other while doing their project. I’m not encouraging that.

So, my teaching is not going to look like it normally would, and it’s possible that I’m not going to be teaching much of the same material.

I’m certainly not going to stay after school to help kids with work. And even if I did, we would have to stay far apart.

Kids aren’t going to be able to socialize as they normally would. They won’t be able to sit with friends for the most part. They may have to stay with a particular group.

I’m concerned about going into the small faculty bathrooms that have no ventilation. They are also close to student bathrooms which are small and have no ventilation.

So, just because kids are back in school doesn’t mean a whole lot of socializing will take place. Of course, it will probably be different at the elementary level.

I’ve also brought up the psychological issues of constantly being aware of the safety of one’s environment and how learning will take place therein. I’m wondering how the teachers out there are envisioning teaching in person in school. Have they thought about the logistics of this and if they will have to change their curriculum at all and if so, how? Thank you.