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I’m not sure if I’m supposed to feel good or bad about all of this…

Spring is typically an exceptionally busy time of year for me. Between teaching and coaching (track and field, soccer), it’s rare that I get much time to myself. For obvious reasons, this year has been a bit different. Lockdowns associated with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic have brought life to a halt for almost all of us, and have rearranged lives in ways that none of us could have predicted just a few short months ago.

As a high school teacher, the rearrangement of my life has been dramatic. My school was shut down in mid-March, and we managed to transition to remote teaching over a period of about 48 hours. The process has not been without its challenges. As a 4th year teacher, my classes are pretty well prepped and set to go, but they were not set to be delivered remotely. This has necessitated a monumental amount of effort to convert nearly everything that I do into a format that can be delivered online. My workdays are now longer than they would have been had I still been in the classroom, and the process of transitioning to online teaching has been grueling. That being said, my students have kept me going. They have risen to this challenge in a way that I find truly inspiring – almost every single one of them (80+ students) has continued doing their work diligently, on-time, and well. We are making the best of the situation, and I could be more proud of these kids (especially the seniors, who have seen their final sports seasons and prom eliminated, and a graduation ceremony still uncertain).

Transitioning to remote teaching has been hard, but the bigger change has perhaps been what happens outside of school. Everything else has disappeared. No track practice, no track meets, no soccer games all over New England on the weekends. I’ve had 4-5 straight weekends entirely at home – I can’t remember the last time that happened! Daily walks with my wife have become the routine, and runs to blow off stress at the end of the day have increased my weekly mileage way above where it would typically be at this time of year. And it’s not just me – my wife, and all three of my kids have been running regularly as well. It’s almost become a form of therapy for all of us, including my 10-year old son. Heck, my older son (age 16), who claimed to hate running before all this began, told me he wanted to set a mileage PR and came home the other day having run 8 miles. He’s a sprinter and jumper in track – I was dumbfounded! And my daughter (age 14) has gotten to the point where her daily run is something she looks forward to as an escape from online homework.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this other than to say times are weird, and I needed to write something down. I’m conflicted in that I miss my students so much, I miss coaching, and it hurts deeply that we lost the Spring track season. But on the other hand I have cherished the time with my family, I have loved watching Spring begin to overtake my neighborhood, and I have loved the feeling of regular physical activity. I feel so fortunate that I have a job that continues to pay me during all of this, and I feel guilty about that at the same time since I know others are struggling. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to feel good or bad about all of this.

I’m going to stop right there because the moment I typed that last line, I realized that that is what I’m trying to articulate. I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about all of this. I’ll let you know if I figure it out…

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a biology teacher, track/soccer coach, and dad (x3) with a passion for running, soccer, and science. If you'd like to learn a little bit more about who I am and what I do, click here, or visit petermlarson.com.

Comments

  1. Aaron G says:

    Thanks for the update, Pete. I get where you’re coming from about mixed feelings about all this. Personally, I’m savoring all this extra time with my wife and my 4 kids without any of the “normal” distractions. We’ve all grown closer through this. My kids are all teenagers w/ oldest already off at college. The time we’ve been able to be together the last couple months has been special. I will always remember and cherish this time together as long as I live, regardless of any catastrophic outcomes that might be ahead.

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