It’s been only 3 months since the beginning of school and I have the impression of having lived at least seven lives. I’ve become old, all of a sudden. Whatever I do, whatever I have been asked to do, turns out to be eventually pointless, useless, frustrating. I feel like a caterpillar which is, despite all its efforts, unable to turn into a butterfly. Yes, I feel like a caterpillar, but I remember I was a butterfly once.
If you are not a teacher, I’m sure you would think I’m being dramatic, but I am otherwise sure that the teachers from all over the world, ALL of them, will understand perfectly how I feel. What turns my hopelessness into anger is what I read daily about Government resolutions regarding school opening after Christmas holidays: no ideas, no plans, everything left to chance, but one thing they have clearly in mind: we MUST go back to school anyhow.
Of course, when you spent 3 billion euros in one seater desks, as the only real strategy to tackle this pandemic season, we MUST go back to school, I understand . That is why, with the intent of pursuing this chimera, despite negative figures, spreading infection rate, despite what common sense would suggest, we have been obliged to experiment teaching in any condition. If you don’t believe me, give a look at this list.
DIDACTIC ESPERIMENTS DURING THREE MONTHS OF PANDEMIC:
- ALL STUDENTS IN. (done) It lasted two weeks. Then we started to notice that teachers and students were going missing as they were put in quarantine. We noticed it; nobody told us. Eventually, I was one of them.
- ONE CLASS IN THE GYM. (done) Since we were running out of classrooms any space had to be used. Being that big, the sound effect is that of a church, with echoes mostly. No problem if you have a stentorian voice. I haven’t.
- TWO CLASSES IN THE GYM. (done) Some super smart colleague thought clever to use the mike, while the teacher with no stentorian voice was doing all she could to be heard. Blood ran at the end the hour.
- TWO CLASSES IN THE LECTURE HALL.(done) Just like in the gym , but with no echo and no lesson actually. Try to imagine about 30 kids who are supposed to follow the English class, while other 30 are following the Math class. Blood very likely to run at the end of the hour.
- OPEN AIR CLASS.(done) A very romantic option. 30 kids under the school portico, with the soundtrack of the barwoman who makes cappuccinos and coffees – God bless her – while pigeons discharge their excrements on desks and floor, if not on kids or teachers.
- 50% IN AND 50% REMOTE. (done) Most of the time spent on: Can you hear me? Can you see me? While half of the class watches you amused.
- 25% IN AND 75% REMOTE. (done) Never reached the 25%, as those who were supposed to stay in class knew that they would have been the privileged target of teachers’ “attentions”.
- 100% REMOTE FROM HOME. (done) Paradise. How strange that such a despised option in the past might become absolute perfection in the present.
- 100% REMOTE FROM SCHOOL. (done) But if any student, for any reason, cannot follow lessons from home, can demand to stay at school and so his teachers are, as a matter of fact, banned from paradise, to stay with him. We might also call this option 100% but one.
YET TO BE EXPERIMENTED AFTER CHRISTMAS:
- WORKING ON SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS. No comment.
- STAGGERED ENTRANCES. Which means starting from 8 in the morning and ending at 8 in the evening.
- SCHOOL YEAR ENDS IN JULY. I know all those maintaining that teachers enjoy long holidays would welcome this option with screams of joy, after all we would look after their children till July, how couldn’t we teachers sympathize with them?
Does it sound like a joke? I’m afraid, it is not.