Make sure no one knows how much you’re secretly enjoying your time off.
First, make sure to post on social media every day about how much you miss your kids. Rave about the one out of 30 kids who did your work packet, while the rest of your kids ignored it. It doesn’t matter that you pray before going into the classroom every day to prepare yourself for the worst, or that you cry yourself to sleep at night. Make sure everyone on Facebook and Instagram knows how deeply devoted you are to your kids. Compare your efforts to teachers who saved their students in movies like Freedom Writers or Finding Forrester. Make sure everyone in the world knows that you are sad not to be at work, that you are amazing, that you are inspirational.
Show up to professional development and Zoom classrooms in a full suit or dress. Kick out any kid who’s not wearing the school uniform. Make sure to send a message to the kids that even though it is a virtual classroom, you’re not going to back down and lighten up on your routines and procedures. Secretly be grateful that you don’t have to spend any time managing behaviors, and make sure to send a message to your kids and administrators that you are not letting up your Common Core-aligned academic rigor.
Make sure that in your time off out of your school building, no one knows how much you’re secretly enjoying your time off. When your principal asks you how you’re doing, respond by saying “not good. I just miss the kids so much!” Don’t let anyone know that you’ve spent your whole break watching “Tiger King” on Netflix in your underwear, eating ice cream and playing video games. Don’t let anyone know that you took this time to finally start reading, sleeping, and exercising. Make sure every person in the world sees just how much you are suffering not getting to see your kids every day.
Check-in with parents on how your students are doing on their independent work packets, but especially check in on your most disruptive students. Make sure the kid who spends half the year suspended and curses you out every day is doing his work because you get excited at how much of a horrible time he’s having. Pretend like you’re not gratified when a parent calls or texts you “I don’t know how you do it” and that “teachers need a raise”.
Use this time as an opportunity to assert a leadership role at your school and assert your dominance over your peers and colleagues. Make sure your principal knows that you know how to use Canvas, Blackboard, Skype, or Google Classrooms, and that you’re so altruistic that you’re willing to teach all your older, technology-averse colleagues how to open a computer. Reply to all school emails by hitting the “reply all” button, pretending like you didn’t know any better, but knowing deep down you wanted to make your whole staff know how hard you work.
Put in fake grades. You just got an e-mail that the grading window is near. Since you left all your student work in the building, you can’t go back. Say it’s because you want to limit and contain the spread of COVID-19, but relish in the fact that you don’t have to do your job and you can cover your ass for being two months behind on grading.
Pretend that you’re as worried and panicked about the Coronavirus as everyone else is, but don’t tell anyone that you’ve lost weight without even trying, your blood pressure has gone down, that your skin has never been better, that you’ve been less depressed and anxious. Make sure no one knows that a global pandemic, as awful as it is, is much less stressful to you than the daily hell of going into the classroom.
Finally, see what your students’ obsession with TikTok is about, and then spend hours a day on TikTok videos. Take an hour planning out how to do the dance, and then a couple hours getting your video right. Share your TikTok with all your teacher friends. Spend the whole afternoon realizing that you finally have time to go to eat and go to the bathroom, and realize you’re working yourself too hard during the school day.
Act like you’re devastated each time schools are closed longer. But also grapple with the feeling that you may never see your students again this year. Decide how happy you would be if you never saw your most disruptive kids again in person, but act like you’re sad on social media to replicate the dog and pony show that is your classroom when another adult walks by.
Above all, trick yourself into thinking all your kids are taking this opportunity to further their education. Neglect the fact that some of them are probably at home playing Fortnite until 4 a.m., while others are on Instagram or making TikTok videos all day. Use the fact that one of your many students is doing the work and asking questions as an indication and proof that you’re the best teacher in your building.
Follow all these steps, and you’ll be the perfect teacher during the Coronavirus.
Previously Published on Medium