coronaviruschronicles, mental health, teaching

Special Education in the Time of COVID

I am not a special education teacher. I used to teach university students for four years. I taught animation, drawing, Photoshop, Macromedia Flash, Autodesk Maya, and even screenplay writing for animation. The best thing about skills-based courses is that students often gravitate towards them because they know what they want and what they are capable of. The only problem you may have would be the usual lazy bunch or the ones who are online shopping during classes. The classes are in computer labs. Everyone has a workstation. I also prepared online modules for about two years and wrote English tests for Korean pilots for about a year.

I have been teaching second-grade for six years now, though. So, it is what I am the most comfortable with at the moment. Again, I am not a special education teacher but my interest in this line of work was piqued last year when I had a boy I suspected to have some sort of special needs. Mind you, he had not been officially diagnosed. However, he had very short attention span, flapped his hands about, and only did what he wanted to do. On the other hand, he was very smart and could read very well. I used to give him my calculator for comfort, and it kind of worked. Unfortunately, he had also labelled himself as “not smart,” which was heartbreaking.

This morning, I had asked our principal to allow me to attend a special education session. I knew that I would have a few slow readers. The greatest instance was last school year’s as the children went back to face-to-face session after more than a term at home. We are back to online classes this term, though, because of the recent surge in COVID cases (with Delta strain, as well). Therefore, I wanted to know how I could involve special needs children through the virtual teaching setting. There is no fixed solution for all children. A teacher must still discover a child’s quirks and needs. However, there were several resources recommended by the speaker that I truly appreciated:

Other resources given where similar to the ones recommended for children who need some form of audio-visual prompts to learn. Of course, application is going to be a lot rougher as we teachers will find ourselves almost plastered in front of the screen for more than half of the day. I got burned out the last time – as I got obsessive with producing engaging lessons, working from 5 am to 7 pm at times. I would try to do better this school year, especially now that I have so many freelance duties.

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coronaviruschronicles, mental health, self-care, spirituality, teaching

Reflection and Self-Care Day

Today’s teacher training focus was self-care. Our school chaplain led us into reflection. It truly focused on the inner life (mental and spiritual), with the use of a Ted Talk video and a YouTube video. The setup fits into the narrative that teachers should be flexible about how we tackle our new teaching arrangements. Some teachers open up about their present anxieties.

Being used to “religious” people telling others to pray instead of getting therapy, I was pleasantly surprised that our chaplain recognized the need to get rid of these toxic judgments. Instead, he recognizes that everyone needs to take care of their mental health and that we need to get rid of the stigma that surrounds mental illness. People immediately judge those who are suffering from some kind of psychosis or depression. They jump to the conclusion that it must have been drugs or a punishment from heaven.

Unfortunately, I am not the right poster child for self-care. Today, I still wrote 3 short articles, one longer one, and 1500 words for my creative project. I am anxious when I am not doing anything. I need to face my reluctance to give myself some mental silence and reprieve.

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