“It is Okay.” “We are Okay.”
On March 16th, an announcement in the school where I worked filled my mind with a strange feeling of relief. “Classes suspended indefinitely due to COVID-19.”
Until then, I had too much to teach, to learn, and too many classes to prepare. I thought that teaching online would not be as hard.
I was wrong. All of a sudden, the Coronavirus news changed our lives–my family’s, my students’ and my own life. Since everyone did not know how to teach from home or learn from home, we overdid it. The first weeks working from home were devastating for me as a mother pretending to homeschool my children, as a teacher chasing my pupils and their parents, and a tired homemaker.
“I learned to accept myself, my struggles, my pain of sitting for long hours, my mediocre online stream classes that could not reach all my students, an unreliable internet connection, and a flawed English as my second language.”
The isolation took over my lifestyle but especially darkened my soul. I could not share the rare feeling of sadness; I did not want to spread my gloomy emotions. My children refused to believe in Zoom classes while I tried to convince my students that learning online was fun, to keep them engaged through the computer screen. I felt like I was often drowning; the only motivation to keep swimming was loving my students and my children.
I learned to accept myself, my struggles, my pain of sitting for long hours, my mediocre online stream classes that could not reach all my students, an unreliable internet connection, and a flawed English as my second language. I accepted the well-done homework and the absence of homework from my pupils. I embraced the willingness to participate and also those kids that ignored my lessons. I slowed down the rigour of my expectations and the pressure on my children.
We all felt overwhelmed with uncertainty. I could not hide my feelings and expect my students to ignore their fears and loneliness.
We surrendered to the circumstances. We embraced the changes, and we dealt with it. I talked about COVID and us, we discussed with my kids and my students about how, where, when, why, and the impact on us and the entire world.
The word “Okay” never made more sense to me than now. “It is Okay.” “We are Okay.” “It will be Okay.” It is summer now.
Levia Quequezana arrived from Peru in Montreal in 2005 and moved to Calgary the following year with her husband and six children. In 2019 she graduated with a Bachelor of Education from St. Mary’s University and now teaches full-time at St. Margaret School.