Graphic by Darian Williams
Entering month three of quarantine, it’s not only the students’ lives that have changed, but also the daily routine of teachers has been altered in order to adjust to the circumstances of COVID-19. Now that students are completing their fourth quarter of school online, teachers all around the world have had to change certain aspects of their lifestyle as a result. Mr. Foster, a longtime AP government and politics teacher at MSD, is no exception.
His routine begins around 8 a.m., as opposed to the earlier wake-up call when in-person school was still in place.
“I wake up around 8 (make bed), eat breakfast with family, Zoom every other day for 1 ½ hour, check email/grade work, exercise (usually 3-5 mile bike), make lunch, practice guitar, play board games with kids, watch old sports, dinner, then TV/movie and sleep,” Foster said.
He is using this time to keep in touch with his students as they prepare for the class’s AP exam, having Zoom calls frequently to gather everyone into a single place. However, due to the fact that Zoom calls aren’t mandatory, the attendance wavers.
“I work less in terms of hours, but I am definitely frustrated that I don’t get to have direct interaction with my classes every other day,” Foster said. “I’ve been Zooming every other day to try to have direct contact with my kids, but the attendance has been less than stellar, going from 160 participants the 1st week to right around 50 consistently.”
While the ability to communicate with his MSD family may be slightly hindered due to distance learning, Foster is also using this time to be with his family, taking advantage of the hours where he would usually be in the classroom.
“My favorite thing is being able to exercise every day and being able to spend so much time with my wife and kids. During our normal life, we barely see each other,” Foster said.
In addition to having an increase of quality time with his family, Foster has also been honing in on skills he may not have had time to focus on during normal circumstances, as well as some house chores he particularly zeroes-in on during quarantine.
“I’ve started to play online golf with friends, and am striving to become better at playing guitar,” Foster said. “I’m obsessive about laundry, I probably wash two loads of laundry a day… My girls have dance classes on Zoom, so the number of clothes we go through hasn’t changed.”
Due to the ongoing pandemic and the closure of schools, teachers had moved months of school materials online to sites like Canvas where the students could complete it. Now that the year is coming to an end, Foster is using his time at home to also improve for his classes next year.
“I’m hoping to update all of my PowerPoints and become much more Canvas-centric in my class.” Foster said.
Overall, the life of a teacher in quarantine definitely has its struggles, but appreciating the valuable moments with family, hobbies and self-growth provides some light in the darkness of isolation.