In homes around the world, life isn’t as usual.

In many schools, it just isn’t the same.

Students, parents, teachers, and administrators, each have their own challenges and internal response to those challenges. Let’s take a glimpse behind the scenes look at why.

It’s Monday Morning.

Dr. Lisa Lucas is preparing for a professional learning session later that afternoon on Practicing Presence for Educators. She is hoping something she shares in the session will help the educators deal with the overwhelm when things are spiraling out of control. She knows first-hand, many are at their wits end. Inside the Lucas home, boxes are everywhere, and the home is in disarray. She is moving and has begun to pack 35 years of memories. Yesterday was the baptism of her granddaughter Lucy, and she has uncharacteristically not graded and prepped for her classes all weekend, so four classes of assignments to grade sit waiting in her D2L and Schoology online accounts. She’s worried about her lessons for the classes at the university in the week ahead. It’s becoming harder and harder to keep her students engaged. She is teaching fully online, her students just stare at her with blank, bored expressions. Some students say their parents don’t want to pay tuition for online learning and they may be leaving the program.

Thirty miles away, Lisa’s daughter, a first-grade teacher and the mother of Lucy is vacuuming. Her home shows evidence of a post-baptism gathering. Signs of a celebration are everywhere, and she’s trying to clean up before the babysitter arrives. On her mind are the relatives that didn’t get to attend due to Covid concerns. She also didn’t devote every moment of the weekend to preparing to teach, and students are returning today to the classroom live for the first time. She’ll be teaching ½ face to face and ½ on Zoom. Every word she speaks is recorded for parents and students. The chance of saying the wrong thing or having a technological glitch are stressing her out. In the back of her mind she’s wondering how she can run home to feed her infant since she wouldn’t take a bottle before she had to leave for work. She left hearing the cries of her infant.

Ninety miles away, the administrator of the school district where Lisa will be facilitating the learning session wakes up with his cell phone buzzing, he faces another day of putting out fires, responding to upset parents, stressed out teachers, and endless e-mails to answer. He feels the weight of the world on his shoulders to find solutions to countless problems. He hopes the workshop that afternoon by Dr. Lisa Lucas will help his overwhelmed staff.

In that same school, the guidance counselor begins what she knows will be another day of supporting students in crisis, and she’s incredibly worried about several students. She’s wondering how the consultant, Lucas, can possibly help.

Jane Doe, a teacher at the middle school in the district where the PD session will happen later that day gets her own children up and ready for school. They don’t want to go, it’s no fun. As she drops each one off at a different school building, they leave her car with heads down, masks donned, looking dejected. She grudgingly puts her own mask on as she enters her own school building. Parents have complaining that their children can’t hear her on her recorded sessions. She’s having difficulty breathing, her throat hurts from trying to talk loudly, she is exhausted, and it’s only Monday. In the back of her mind she is worried about her own Father who has Alzheimer’s and is isolated and alone in an Assisted Living Facility. Due to the virus she hasn’t been able to visit him.

John Doe remembers as he enters the high school where he teaches that he has to stay late. The district is bringing in “some consultant” who is going to tell them to be happy and make the best of their situation- something about being present. His wife has taken their two younger children to school. They fought again that morning, money is tight, and they can’t agree if they should keep paying tuition for their two college age children. All day long they claim they just stare at a computer while some boring professor lectures. They are paying over forty thousand dollars to the university- and for what?

Suzie Doe slams the car as her mom drops her off at the middle school. Her mom wouldn’t let her order new headphones from Amazon, and she has to babysit her brother because her parents have to go to some stupid meeting after school. She’s wondering if she can sneak her boyfriend over without her brother telling. She hasn’t seen him since March. She hates school, and her grades are deteriorating. She can’t hear what her teacher says when she talks with that mask on.

Tommy Doe, a first grader walks into school with his head down. His parents fought all weekend about money, and he heard his Mom crying in her room at night. He misses his Grandpa who used to babysit him when his parents worked late. His mom wouldn’t let him bring a snack because the school won’t allow snack anymore. He wishes things would just go back to normal. He realizes he forgot his mask, and he knows he’ll be in trouble. He hopes his teacher has something fun for them to do in class and is in a good mood.

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