I took a break from blogging because I was not well and was also a little bit paranoid. Coughing a lot can do that to you in the time of COVID. But hey, a negative COVID test certainly made me feel a little better. I know it is an antigen test, which is not as accurate as a PCR test. However, combine that with the negative tests of all the people in my family and I feel much better. It helps that I barely leave the home. I protect myself with double masks and shield when I do. I am fully vaccinated. Why was I still worried? Well, I am an asthmatic and my unvaccinated son (waiting on the Pfizer vaccine) is, as well. I support vaccination, but I am aware of the possibility of breakthroughs. But there it is – a negative test. Whoa. My allergies and asthma have not stopped plaguing me, but at least I have more peace of mind.
I have not left the house for DAYS. When I do leave, I only do so to speed through the supermarket aisles and get what I need. Right away! But if I do go out today, some people will probably avoid me like the plague (yeah, pretty close) because of my asthmatic cough.
The nights are especially terrible. Post nasal drip keeps me up at night. The only thing that helps me is a Piriton tablet to stop the dripping. What I don’t like about antihistamines is that they make me fall asleep almost immediately. I cannot even watch anything after I have gone through my full workload for the day.
Anyway, my asthma and allergies have been acting up. The only comfort I have is that my husband knows his status (negative) and we have both been fully vaccinated. I am gathering the courage to have my twelve-year-old vaccinated, as well. He has asthma and may need extra protection.
I am not a special education teacher. I used to teach university students for four years. I taught animation, drawing, Photoshop, Macromedia Flash, Autodesk Maya, and even screenplay writing for animation. The best thing about skills-based courses is that students often gravitate towards them because they know what they want and what they are capable of. The only problem you may have would be the usual lazy bunch or the ones who are online shopping during classes. The classes are in computer labs. Everyone has a workstation. I also prepared online modules for about two years and wrote English tests for Korean pilots for about a year.
I have been teaching second-grade for six years now, though. So, it is what I am the most comfortable with at the moment. Again, I am not a special education teacher but my interest in this line of work was piqued last year when I had a boy I suspected to have some sort of special needs. Mind you, he had not been officially diagnosed. However, he had very short attention span, flapped his hands about, and only did what he wanted to do. On the other hand, he was very smart and could read very well. I used to give him my calculator for comfort, and it kind of worked. Unfortunately, he had also labelled himself as “not smart,” which was heartbreaking.
This morning, I had asked our principal to allow me to attend a special education session. I knew that I would have a few slow readers. The greatest instance was last school year’s as the children went back to face-to-face session after more than a term at home. We are back to online classes this term, though, because of the recent surge in COVID cases (with Delta strain, as well). Therefore, I wanted to know how I could involve special needs children through the virtual teaching setting. There is no fixed solution for all children. A teacher must still discover a child’s quirks and needs. However, there were several resources recommended by the speaker that I truly appreciated:
Other resources given where similar to the ones recommended for children who need some form of audio-visual prompts to learn. Of course, application is going to be a lot rougher as we teachers will find ourselves almost plastered in front of the screen for more than half of the day. I got burned out the last time – as I got obsessive with producing engaging lessons, working from 5 am to 7 pm at times. I would try to do better this school year, especially now that I have so many freelance duties.
Today was packed but it is no longer surprising.
- an e-book revision (changed the order of chapters)
- a landing page revision (proofreading, diction, etc.)
- an optimized article (more than 1600 words)
- a three-hour Zoom meeting on Hybrid versus Blended Learning (with co-teachers and a resource speaker)
- 1500 words added to Story 1
- 1000 words added to Story 2
- Skipped exercise because of asthma
I will probably be more coherent with my blog post tomorrow. For now, I leave you a list. At least, I have done all of the above.
Today is packed with teacher and parent duties. In the morning, after I was done with a couple of articles (a new one and a revision of another), I attended a meeting where our principal updated us as to what The Ministry of Education plans for this school year. My co-second-grade teacher and I had to put together a new timetable that takes in consideration both synchronous and asynchronous classes.
Later on today, I have to attend a Zoom meeting for secondary school parents. There will be a discussion on Pfizer vaccination for students ages 12 to 17. I am looking forward to this, as my son has asthma. I have been waiting for a chance to get him vaccinated. He will have his own Zoom meeting – a karate session with his dojo since their instructor and fellow dojo members would not be allowed to meet face-to-face. Teacher and parent duties have to adjust to new setups that arose due to COVID-19.
It’s Sunday! So, I had a relatively laidback afternoon. I went to buy groceries, wearing my double masks. You can never be too careful when you have asthma. It was also a fattening day, basically, with KFC chicken and Mountain Dew. lol. One thing is for sure, though: I never planned to skip writing an episode for my handful of Dreame readers, especially after a very kind comment. It is a form of self-entertainment, as well, I suspect. I also enjoy creating featured photos via Canva for my blog posts. They are fun, not so original, but legal since I have paid my monthly due to gain rights on the pictures.
I only had to write one article today. However, I was distracted and it took me hours of web browsing, social media, and actual research. Anyway, it’s about 2 pm right now, and I am finally done with that one article plus 1500 words for my creative project (episode 35 – see my post after this). I now have 82 followers. I think it is pretty good, considering that I am writing fantasy with a lot of magical details compared to romance. I will rest a bit this afternoon, I think. I am feeling slightly fatigued.
All in all, this is a good day. I have 11 more followers and one of my clients asked me if I could work as a part-time editor for him. I consider that as an upgrade over the article writing. So, I said yes.
Today’s teacher training focus was self-care. Our school chaplain led us into reflection. It truly focused on the inner life (mental and spiritual), with the use of a Ted Talk video and a YouTube video. The setup fits into the narrative that teachers should be flexible about how we tackle our new teaching arrangements. Some teachers open up about their present anxieties.
Being used to “religious” people telling others to pray instead of getting therapy, I was pleasantly surprised that our chaplain recognized the need to get rid of these toxic judgments. Instead, he recognizes that everyone needs to take care of their mental health and that we need to get rid of the stigma that surrounds mental illness. People immediately judge those who are suffering from some kind of psychosis or depression. They jump to the conclusion that it must have been drugs or a punishment from heaven.
Unfortunately, I am not the right poster child for self-care. Today, I still wrote 3 short articles, one longer one, and 1500 words for my creative project. I am anxious when I am not doing anything. I need to face my reluctance to give myself some mental silence and reprieve.
So, instead of being on self-imposed lockdown today, I went to school in-person to help out fellow teachers go over the use of Google Classroom. I wore two surgical masks and a mottled shield. After I had sprayed it with alcohol, streaks and spots covered the whole thing but I still trudged on and walked to school in a haze.
It made me think. Teachers might be popular when some parents had a brilliant light bulb moment, but they often get the short end of the stick. It is worse now that I am a primary school teacher. When I was still teaching university students, I do not even get to meet the parents. My teenage students had to answer to their parents when they got terrible grades.
Anyway, here are some ways to help teacher friends during COVID lockdowns:
- Check up on them. Are they okay? Let them open up if they got COVID but do not pry. Do not let them feel guilty by saying things like, “You could have been vaccinated” or “You could have been more careful!” Full disclosure: I am fully vaccinated and I am rarely out and about. My home is my ultimate shield.
- Post things on social media about what you do. Some teachers are not oversharers like me. So, I make it a point to post that, hey all, teachers are working. I annoy my Facebook friends to death, I suspect, that nobody would comment about “No, you possibly could not be working that hard.” I wake up at 5 am and sleep at 11 pm. What about you, then? I work most of the time I am awake, too.
- Help the non-tech savvy with one-on-one tutorials. Some do not want to slow down other teachers during group sessions. So, they just fret on their own.
- Provide slides or videos for those who want to learn on their own. As an introvert, I know how awesome that feels – making all my mistakes without an audience.
- Kind words and encouragements work well, too. Unfortunately, I doubt I should be sharing cookies and cakes at this point when people are weary about where your hands had been.
- Plan lessons together, especially if suddenly all of you are working completely online instead of the usual face-to-face.
- Wear your mask when talking to them in person. (I double mask!) You never know if you have been infected, or if they had been infected. Let us protect each other.
Everything is done online nowadays: school, work, freelance stuff, creative projects. It can be freeing and overwhelming at the same time.
Today, I had teacher training online, a landing page due, the second half of an article due, and of course, my creative efforts due (for the personal project, I set the deadline).
So, yeah, I am happy to announce that Episode 33 is now out. I now have 51 followers (compared to yesterday’s 37). I just have to keep on working hard I guess because Dreame has not promoted my book as much as I thought they would. It is a signed book, after all. Some writers say that it is probably because of the genre I have chosen – fantasy. What could have happened then if I had chosen my first love – horror? Everyone is promising a lot of steam in their books. I can only offer PG-13 romance at the moment. Would I be tempted? Well, there are some steamy ones with a good story out there. The story still should be the core of any book. I am very new to this. There are stories in my head, but I have never been that good with execution.
I love making covers. So, my first story is not even done yet, but I already designed the cover of my second because I have a little story vaguely dancing in my head. Haha! I probably should remain confident since I am in self-promotion mode, but I am still trying to find a story that will land me a printed publication deal. One day. Oh, one day. But it all begins right now.