How the Pandemic Helped me Create a Joy-Filled Day in the Classroom!
Since the pandemic started our lives have changed. It was almost one year ago when everything shut down. Many people will say that the pandemic was a bad year. I must say it has been challenging but it is not all negative for me. I have a large family and we typically get together monthly for celebrations. We haven’t been able to do that and I miss is more than anything. But this pandemic gave me time to listen to my body and focus on what’s most important.
Last April, I wasn’t happy. I was worn thin and just going through the motions of daily life. I had a tough class who challenged me everyday. My cheer team was barely making it through each practice. I went home and was exhausted and tired and barely paid attention to my loved ones.
When the pandemic hit and schools closed, it gave me time. Time to get my life back. Time to remember what was most important to me. It also helped me realize the amazing world of education that is out there to inspire and motive us. I always wanted to be a teacher who made a huge impact on the world but I never knew how I would do that. I heard of Get Your Teach On (GYTO) and saw the price of the PD and thought it would never be possible. During the pandemic, I learned about Teachers on Instagram. As I started to follow teachers a new world of inspiration opened for me. I also learned that many PD were virtual and some even for free! I attended my first (GYTO) PD virtually and for free!! I was also able to attend others because they were all available virtually and you could watch them on your own time! I also learned about Kayse Morris- a Teacherpreneur who inspires and teaches teachers how to leave their mark on education. I immediately enrolled in her course! I was absorbing so many new ideas and initiatives to bring back to my classroom. I began to realize the itch to be more than I was could all come true. The spark inside me began flourish and bloom. I know I am just at the beginning but I know I am headed in the right direction. This is just the beginning. I know I am meant to leave my mark and I cannot wait to see where it will take me.
It’s not Easy and it takes a balance. But having time during this pandemic has helped me manage my life again. I feel excitement in the classroom, I am coaching my cheerleaders in a much more effective way and I am working to give my loved ones the time and energy they deserve.
One thing GYTO and instagram teachers taught me about were room transformations. At first I never thought I would be able to pull one off. On Friday we celebrated both the 100th day of school and Valentine’s Day! I wanted to make the day special for my kindergarteners. So I stayed after school and hung up some posters, streamers and bought some balloons. Nothing huge but enough for the classroom to feel special.
On Friday, my students walked into the room and said “Miss Coombs our room is beautiful” “wow this must have taken you forever, you must be tired” “I love what you did with our classroom”. I smiled and thanked them for the complements. We went though our day adding fun educational activities to celebrate the milestones. As we finished up our day my students said “Miss Coombs today was so much fun” “I loved learning today” “Today was the best day ever”! My heart was filled with so much joy! As we packed up a student from a different classroom upstairs stopped and knocked on our classroom door. He said “Your classroom is the best classroom in the school. Your class deserves lots of dojo points!” (Our school uses Class Dojo for parent communication and classroom behavior management system)
I didn’t decorate or make the day special for the comments and compliments but to make the day fun and exciting. It was a lot of work but I know it was worth it! The classroom transformation wasn’t much but it was enough to do just what I wanted! The comments and compliments were icing on the cake!
If the pandemic hadn’t hit, I don’t know if I would have had the time to realize all of the amazing resources there are out there to help us be the best versions of ourselves. I was never a reader but I read so many books and have tons on my reading list. I have attended several PD to help me grow as an educator and I plan to continue to attend them! I am thankful for the time this pandemic has given me!