A day in the life of a teacher during the coronavirus pandemic

“In the long run, the schoolwork will sort itself out. The kids are going to remember how you make them feel.”

“In the long run, the schoolwork will sort itself out. The kids are going to remember how you make them feel.”

Tammy Novick, an educator for 30 years, never thought she would teach from behind a computer screen. She prefers to connect with her fourth-grade students in person. But since Gov. Tom Wolf closed schools over concerns of COVID-19, she has had to adjust to a new way of teaching.

“It’s more difficult because I really feel the boundaries are blurred. Especially when we first started. It’s getting better now,” Novick said. “For the first, I’d say at least two to three weeks, I felt like I was basically on-call all the time because I was trying to check my email even in the evenings, because a lot of times that’s when the kids could do their work.”

She has now settled into a routine.

Although she sees her students online give days a week, she misses being able to interact with them one-on-one.

“It’s really hard to know whether they’re understanding something when you can’t see their faces, you can’t see their eyes, hear their expressions,” she said. “Especially for those kiddos who struggle. It’s really hard because normally I would sit beside them and talk to them quietly so that it’s just one-on-one and it’s more individual. Then they’re not embarrassed that they didn’t understand it or had difficulty with it. You can’t really do that online.”

Still, Novick feels the situation has allowed her to teach her students valuable life lessons.

“I really think that this experience has allowed us to show the kids and to show them that we don’t know what’s going to happen, we can’t control our surroundings, we can’t control our situation, but that we can control how we react to it and that we need to make the best of every situation and stay positive and embrace the changes and give it our best,” she said.

For the parents who are now struggling to handle a full-time job and help children with their schoolwork, Novick says it will all work out.

“In the long run, the schoolwork will sort itself out,” she said. “The kids are going to remember how you make them feel. Just try. I mean, that’s all you can do and that’s all your kids can ask of you.”


Keira McGuire
Keira McGuire/WITF

Keira McGuire is a health reporter and multimedia producer for WITF. She hosts and produces Transforming Health television programs as well as other shows and documentaries for WITF’s Original Productions. McGuire produced the Emmy Award winning series HealthSmart for the last ten years. Keira previously worked at WBFF in Baltimore and WMDT in Salisbury as a reporter and anchor. She’s a graduate of Towson University.

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