Thursday, 30 July 2020

MaskAdaisical


School’s out for summer! Phew. It was a tough one but I’m so glad we made it to the end of the term, the crazy challenges notwithstanding. 

COVID-19 changed the dynamics of teaching and learning as we know it. For example, there weren't opportunities for team building/ group tasks and students had to sit a few meters apart to maintain social distancing. Never mind that students broke the social distancing rule from time to time. Of course, we also had to wear masks 24/7 to prevent the spread of the virus. I found that teaching EFL with a mask over your mouth is nothing short of annoying and frustrating. Needless to say that modeling proper pronunciation was difficult to achieve. 

Owing to the fact that I started working at this school at the time when the pandemic was beginning to gain momentum, I have no idea what my students look like without masks. Towards the end of the term, students were beginning to get antsy and “maskadaisical” and occasionally they would slip down their masks for a breath of fresh air and it was always a pleasant surprise! They looked nothing like I’d imagined. It was almost as if their masks came with “open for a surprise” labels.
One of the biggest moments for me this term was when I had the opportunity to attend a mini-sporting event between two arms of the first grade and all participants had their masks off. I didn’t know who was who and it was exciting to identify them by distinct features like their height, hairstyle and attitude. They had a good laugh every time I gasped and called out “——- is that you!” I was so overwhelmed with happiness that I wept, literally! 
This experience helped me appreciate the seemingly little things that we take for granted- braces, freckles, dimples and crooked dentition! I really hope that a vaccine is discovered soon. We can never go back to “normal”- surely not, but I hope that the lessons of hygiene, compassion and consideration for others and their personal space, among others, remain with us after this is all over.

As schools are just being re-opened in some parts of the world, I wish all the teachers who are just about to start work a successful school term as well. As far as this pandemic is concerned, we can never be too careful thus hand washing and sanitizing are very important, and also keep the masks on by all means. 

Thanks for stopping by, see you next post. 

2 comments:

Unknown said...

Very interesting to have to identify people not by their facial features, but by other means

Unknown said...

It's such a beautiful experience.

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