I step back to reflect on many things, including this strangest year of my more than 2 ½ decades as a classroom teacher. It is also as I approach what I suppose is a milestone of sorts, my 75th birthday on May 23. And of course since my major course of instruction is American Government and I have for most of my life been very much of a political creature, including as a denizen of this website since just after Thanksgiving, 2003, any reflection I make will inevitably include the political.
Stepping back a bit to last school year. For those who do not know I had a stroke in my classroom on November 12, 2019. I immediately recognized that something was wrong, and the school got EMTs to me fairly quickly. I was transported to a very good facility about 10 miles away where the the ER doctor took one look at me, told me I had a stroke, showed me the droop in my face, and got me to agree to a very expensive (but covered by insurance and very effective treatment). It meant that my “damage” was minimized, even though I had a more than 90% blockage in my left carotid artery, the cause of the stroke. That was addressed by surgery about 6 weeks later, I went through some rehab, and I have continued to teach.
But before as a teacher I could live on 5-6 hours sleep during the school week. Now I really need 8 or I get wiped out. And I suffered some permanent damage — my vocal cords no longer close, so I am basically no longer able to sing, and have to work at projecting my voice (difficult with a mask on speaking into a computer).
Our last day of in-person instruction at the start of the pandemic was Friday March 13, 2020. I did not return to my classroom until April 7 of this year, after Easter Break, and after both my wife (who is immuno-compromised with a blood cancer) and I were 2 weeks past our second vaccination. Even then, most of my students are remote, I have yet to have more than 6 in a classroom, and it is not unusual to have none of the up to 26 students in a class actually in the room. So yes, this has been a strange school year, even without all the oddities of the election cycle, January 6, and since.