Dubai and the UAE started online teaching two weeks, and schools will be closed for the rest of the academic year. This is what my life looks like as a quarantined teacher, teaching teenagers from home.
7.00am – Morning routine
To think I can sleep in! When I have to go to school, I need to clock in for 7.15am, which means I wake up at 6am every morning. My brain is not quite yet used to being able to snooze a little while longer, but I am not complaining!
I wake up and get dressed – very loose term here – and I take the time to do some yoga and meditation. A few months ago, the application Calm offered free subscriptions to teacher. I haven’t had the chance to use it in the classroom yet, but it now gives me the opportunity to use its Daily Calm podcast, a ten-minute meditation with a new theme every morning.
By the time I’m done, it is 7.45am, which means I log on to Teams to great my form. I set the tone for the day with them by making sure they are here and ready to work, and by giving them a little pep talk about the importance of working hard, even from home.
I then do some yoga stretches so my body doesn’t suffer too much for a full day of sitting down, and I make myself some tea and coffee for a much needed energy boost.
8am to midday – Work work work
I spend my day between Microsoft Teams and OneNote, the two softwares my schools is using for online teaching during the quarantine. I introduce the lesson to the pupils and check on them every 10 minutes or so to make sure they are on track, as well as answering their questions as they go. Half of those are about everything being slow or not loading, but that’s how it works when you introduce something new into a well established routine!
The middle schoolers are just as exhausting online as they would be in a classroom, but the high schoolers get on with their tasks without problem. I use their lessons as well as my free periods to plan for the week ahead. That new way of teaching is not without its challenges, but you need to adapt quickly in this job anyway. A few more days and I’ll breeze through my planning, hopefully!
Midday – Lunch time
On some days, my form has some activities planned during first lunch, so I check up on them and make sure they work on those activities for half an hour or so. Then I send them, and myself, off for lunch. I check Instagram and other social networks, I play a bit of Animal Crossing, and I relax for a bit. Almost there!
Early afternoon – Last lesson and wrapping up
One last for the road, making sure everything goes smoothly even though kids are a bit more distracted since they are so close to the end of the day. We go through the lesson, one activity at a time.
When 3pm comes, I do a round on OneNote and all my Class Notebooks of the day. I keep track of which kids have done the work, and which have not – attendance is still important, even when online. I report any child who has not done their work that day.
Finally, I post tomorrow’s daily notices and greeting audio message on my form’s group, all ready for them to read in the morning. It’s then time to log off Teams and OneNote – it’s better to compartmentalise everything and to put work aside one the school day is over.
Afternoon – Crafts and mindfulness
I spend the next two hours or so doing something creative. A normal working day has me too tired to do anything much when I come home, so I’m trying to take the time to go back to being artsy and creative. I have a yearly subscription to Skillshare, which I’m currently using for lessons in watercolours, sketching and oil painting.
I also take this time to work on the blog, writing and editing articles and working on my Pinterest account. It’s both really nice and practical to be able to have a dedicated time in the day for that.
Evening – Workout, dinner and chill
Around 6pm is when my boyfriend finished his work day. We workout together for about half an hour or so. I do some yoga stretches first, then 25 minutes of a HIIT routine I have created for home. I am yet to make arm day not boring, but alas you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do!
I relax with my boyfriend by playing video games or watch TV shows, depending on our mood. We also have dinner at some point, and some chill time with the cats. While Shuri is loving the fact that I am home all the time (and will be quite upset when I ultimately have to go back to work!), Peter is not too happy about his humans constantly stealing his napping spots and demanding cuddles. He’ll get used to it, eventually!
Night – Getting ready for bed
My nighttime routine starts around 10pm. I go through my skincare routine, then settle in bed for about one hour of reading time. It’s another thing I have the luxury of enjoying again – a normal school day has me too exhausted and I usually fall asleep on my book after ten minutes. I can enjoy reading again and catch up on my ever-growing to-read list.
Lights out at 11pm.
I can almost forget I’ve been in all day.