Weekend Coffee Share – thoughts from a teacher during the Covid 19 pandemi

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Welcome weekend! Would you like a cup of strong, black coffee from my French press, or perhaps some green tea today? 

I just finished my usual two cups of coffee, while admiring the sunrise. It is Saturday morning, and I am looking forward to give my sweet girl some one-on-one time this weekend. She is still snoozing away, so we have a few minutes to have a virtual coffee date before she wakes up. How is your week? Are you in quarantine? Social distancing? 

The world is crazy, and still we try to maintain some of our routines. I work, since schools are considered essential, here in Sweden. (Older children, 15+ years old have online classes.) I feel very good working. I’m in good health, and I like providing  normal for the children whose parents needs to work during these difficult times. Work is a little special at the moment, there’s both children and colleagues missing. We try to help out where we are the most needed at our school. This week I’ve only been at my own department, since I’ve had a lot of children there all week. Not the whole group, but more children than all the other departments. 

Before Corona many children with a little cold were sent to school. You only stayed at home with children that had a fever, or a stomach bug. Nowadays anyone with the slightest symptoms of a cold are advised to stay at home. Our school have a policy that encourage parents to also keep siblings to sick children at home, and keep them at home 48 hours after the last symptoms disappeared. We have the sibling policy since it is impossible  for both the parents and us to know exactly what the child’s illness is. Is it a cold? Allergies? Or the big bad virus? And of course there are people in risk groups that would be more likely to get the virus if their immune system were down, due to a cold (both children and personnel.) This is the least fun part of my job, to have to repeatedly ask parents to keep them at home long enough. Our parents are very good at this, for the most part, so I don’t think it’s overwhelming, it’s just not fun to have to be a police (sort of.) The majority of the parents are very responsible, and I feel that we have a great, open line of communication with them. We are following all the recommendations from our health department to stop this pandemi the best way we can.  Our principal offered us to vent our concerns about the situation at a meeting this week. I attended, mostly to show my support to colleagues that are worried.

We are practicing social distancing in Sweden. I follow that strictly in my private life, but at work I have to make exceptions. Children have always been drawn to me, but in these times there is even a bigger need of comforting them. They want to sit close, there is constantly one, two, three, or more children that wants to sit in my lap. I sometimes need to say no, to not be unfair to anyone, but I try to offer comfort to all of them. They seem OK with all this craziness going on around them. When this all started I didn’t notice that it affected them too much, but these past few days I’ve noticed some insecurities in some of them. It’s a wonderful group of children that I will miss dearly when they move to the next chapter of their education. I feel blessed to be a part of this chapter. Naturally I will do everything I can for them, while I can.

Right after mandatory hand washing for anyone entering our school, one of the first things that was changed when this craziness started, was the way of things in our lunch room. We have an inviting lunch room where we sit in small groups at tables with approximately 5 children and one teacher. We teachers take turns at setting the tables with the wonderful food our chef prepared for us. We put dishes with food on the tables before the children enter the lunch room. Before the virus the children were encouraged to serve themselves of the food. This was part of enjoying delicious food, eating the colourful, beautiful dishes with your eyes before tasting them. This way they were also being given the opportunity of perfecting their table skills. Meals enjoyed together, participating in meaningful conversations around the table is an important part of the children’s education. Now the teacher at the table serve the food to all the children. This works out great, just a small change to how things were before.

This week we’ve had many discussions about the future with our little students, preparing them for the school they are going to after the summer holidays. We’ve made some Easter decorations, and I’ve lead a lot of organised exercise. We have a gymnastic program, with different exercises for children with uptempo music to go with it. It is about 45 minutes, and I’ve used variations of that program 4 days this week. Every day except yesterday, when we had yoga instead. The children asked for yoga on Wednesday. We haven’t had that in a while. (Frankly because the yoga program they’ve used to do before I started felt lame, and it was hard to engage some of the boys.) I felt a need to incorporate some new poses and worked on that Wednesday and Thursday after work. It felt good trying some of them on Friday. I took it slow, and only tried a handful of the program that I prepared. We’ll try the rest next week. I found a good mix of yoga music on Spotify to go with the program. I think an important part of having both gymnastic and yoga with young children is to evaluate with them how it feels in their bodies afterwards. How nutritious food (that is an important part of our school’s profile,) along with exercise make us feel strong, both physically and mentality. These children are getting a head start on a healthy lifestyle. If my daughter was younger, I would choose our school for her, and that makes me feel incredibly good working there. Speaking of it, I signed a new contract for work this week, a permanent position where I am right now. (It’s custom here to start with a trial position for 6 months.) I am thrilled about that! I love my work, and to be a part of developing the ski profile further is very appealing to me.

Do you need a refill on your coffee? Tea? 

I know that I told you about my daughter, how she’s been attending a special school these first months in Sweden, where she’s been getting extra help learning the language.  Well, yesterday was her first day at a new school, within walking distance from our house. It is a regular Swedish school. It will be challenging at first, but she is going to do well. Several of the children in her new class gave her drawings that they’ve made, and little welcome notes. I think I was almost more touched by that gesture than she was. It made my heart very happy. It is a huge challenge learning a new language, and a new culture. I know it, because I’ve been there. I felt like an alien the first years in California. My daughter is doing very well. She loves it here, but I do understand some of her challenges. I am not pushing her in any way. She is allowed to “adjust” in her own pace. It is a great school she is starting. It has a very good reputation. She’s already been attending the after school program at this school since new year, and know some of the children. It’s a small school and the children that attends lives in our part of (the outskirts) of town. 

It seems like most of the world is on lockdown, but as you can tell it has been a pretty busy week here. I do absolutely take the threat of this virus seriously. I do not participate in anything but what is required, work for me, and school for my daughter. I have my groceries delivered, so that I don’t have to go to the store. We spend our free time at home, or in the surrounding forests. It’s been a cold, and beautiful week. We’ve been taking many walks.

I received a book I’ve ordered in the mail yesterday. I’m excited to read it this weekend. I’ve been interested in homesteading my whole life, and this book seem very relevant, modern, beautifully made, with appealing photos, easy to follow descriptions, and recipes. I very much look forward to adding some new skills to my inventory. I remember doing some fermenting of vegetables with my mom as a child, but I would love to perfect that skill myself. Something I will be working on this spring. My new book have a chapter about that, and it was one of the reasons I bought it.

How are you spending these special days? Please tell me in a comment and stay safe! WE are in this together.

Love,

Maria

36 Comments on “Weekend Coffee Share – thoughts from a teacher during the Covid 19 pandemi

  1. Great news on you permanent post, especially during these unnerving times and huge admiration for people like you who have to keep mixing with folk to keep the world moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a wonderful post and the book you got looks very interesting!! I’m so happy you got a permanent position at work, such great news. Praying this all ends sooner than later but I know we have a long road to go….. I’m so HAPPY your daughter is doing well in school and with the language, that’s such great news! I bet your a proud Mama! 😘 Take care dear friend!! ❤️😍🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Diana! In the midst of all this craziness, some things are going in the right direction. I do almost feel guilty for that. Thinking about all of you in California ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think yoga and gym are vital to kids in school…in fact to any of us. I hope things stay safe for you all there. Our kids all over the country are out of school now, trying to learn online. The teachers are having to re-vamp their lesson plans to work for children doing it on their own with their parents at home. It’s a lot of work and stress for everyone. Parents are working from home and home schooling their kids. Kids have too much time on their hands and are tired of being separated from their friends. We are looking at weeks of this, and in Michigan at least, the kids will not be going back to school the rest of this school year. We aren’t even sure about their return in September.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I bet it is challenging for parents to both have to work and homeschool. I love homeschooling, even if I don’t do it now, but with a work to do at the same time it would be challenging. Especially with children that wants to be with their friends. I think it is very different if the family choose homeschooling because they believe in that alternative, compared to being forced to it. One good thing is that the summer is at the doorstep. It will make things easier for the children, I think. Thank you for your comment!

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  4. Congrats on your permanent position Maria. Glad to hear your daughter is doing well in school and has friends who welcomed her. Where I live, schools have been closed since March 16 until May 4 with possible extension of the closure. On Monday April 6, the high school teachers will start teaching their students online. Take care. #weekendcoffeeshare

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Natalie! All our neighbouring countries, and a big part of the world seem to have closed the schools. It does feel weird to work, but at the same time I am grateful. Several of “my children” have parents that work in the medical field, or they are fellow teachers, they need their children to have a safe place to go to, to be able to focus on their job. Be safe my friend ❤

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  5. Glad to know that things are going well for you two. Congrats on your job offer, a load off your mind, I suspect.
    These are strange times, indeed, I expect the world will be forever changed. We’re all affected by it.
    I feel blessed to live where I do, with spring coming on and for my present good health.
    Have a lovely week ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Eliza! It felt very good to know where I am going to work in the fall, especially now. Even though I suspected that I would be offered to continue, with everything that is going on the game changed somewhat. So yes, I am very grateful.

      It must be wonderful to have your paradise already setup, being more independent than the majority of us. I am very happy for you, and I pray that you stay healthy and happy. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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  6. Maria, all of our students in our county (and I think the state) are being schooled online now. There are more than 9,000 cases of coronavirus in my state (Florida), and our governor finally issued a shutdown of everything but essential businesses. I guess I will be growing my hair. 🙂 I am teaching online, and I feel much safer that way right now. I try to keep seeing the bright side. The students are so glad to hear from and see me when I do a LIVE video lesson, and that gives me purpose. The weather is also amazing today in Florida. Seeing the bright side. Stay safe and healthy; I am glad your school has safeguards in place. -Pam

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Looks like you got the virus under fair control, unlike where I am. No school, no returants, no parks. We will get through this, but days are long. Stay well.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. My husband and I are in Day 13 of a 14 day self isolation after returning from the US. It has been interesting. We live in the country so we are able to go for long walks and that is a sanity saver. I get upset with certain politicians and how they seem to have little respect for the lives of others. I have to stop looking at the news sometimes. I am not able to ride my horse which is hard. He returns from Florida on Tuesday but since the State of Emergency only staff are allowed into riding establishments. So I will not be able to see him or to ride which is hard. But I will get through it My daughter has her son and two step daughters at home and they have been doing some home schooling projects as all schools in Ontario are closed. She is still working, at home, 3 days a week at her job and her husband is also working from home. I think they have had a lot of fun with the kids at home and have done work sheets from school and some craft projects that my daughter created. All the best to you. Stay strong and stay healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Long walks in the countryside is truly a sanity saver! I practice them myself on a daily basis. When my daughter and I walked down to the lake for the second time yesterday she asked me “why does people even live in the city?” Then she answered herself “maybe it’s because they cannot make a fire in the fireplace by themselves?” I couldn’t help but laugh. I have personally always preferred the countryside. We are renting a place in the country now. I love it, but when I buy a place of my own a couple years from now, I don’t want neighbours in my lap. Sometimes it feels like that here.

      I truly hope you get to see your horse soon, that must be very hard to be separated from him, for both of you. Stay safe my friend ❤

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  9. I do so miss seeing my students and interacting with them. I think the children themselves are also missing school and the interaction it gives with their friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Maria – I just had to laugh. You say that your first years living in California left you feeling like an alien. My friend, I was born and raised here. I lived a few years in both Washington and Colorado but returned to be close to family and I still feel like an alien here. California is just plain weird.

    It sounds like you two have settled in nicely and a great life is unfolding there for you.
    Wonderful!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I thought it was just me 😉 Great to hear that even a native somewhat share my experience. Now I do miss many things about California, but I cannot take the smoke from the wildfires. California is amazing in many ways.

      Thank you for your kind words! Despite the craziness, life is good.
      Stay safe my friend 🙂

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  11. It is true the old school moto was if they are well enough to go out for recess then send them to school (things like chicken pox…being an exception) and now here we are starting week 4 of homeschool/online learning. Who would have thought?

    Stay safe. Hope you have a nice week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love homeschooling. How is your experience of it so far? I really enjoyed being able to homeschool my daughter for a while, I lived of my savings mostly at that time, I understand that it is totally different if you have to work at the same time. I hope your family is well. Thank you for having coffee with me.

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  12. Sounds like such a beautiful school to work at & how could they not want to keep you on, congratulations & must be wonderful now your treasure is closer to home & really settling in. Its so great to read how well you are both doing, the photos are beautiful to have a deer so close,(sweet). I love the look of the book, I have a little collection of sustainable living books their always my go to, I might ad that one as well, haha, cant help myself, anything national geographic is worth a look at. I hope you & your treasure have a fantastic week. Thanks for the coffee share great as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! Despite the craziness there is so much to be grateful for. Yesterday we walked down to a nearby lake twice, and we saw many deer along the way. They too have a good life here. This weekend we’ve evaluated threats to our garden this summer/ There are plenty, deer is among them, along with magpies, cats, and children. A neighbour boys pulled up a young tree outside our house the other day! I thought my daughter was going to slap him! She got very upset. I hope you are well. Stay safe my friend ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. It;s been a varied but basically comfortable week. Unexpected winter storm with more snow. Things are melting, finally. Dragged out the Scampers’ winter jackets for their outings. I am wrestling with the poem a day thing, and my internal clock is askew. All in all, however, I am quite grateful that the both of us are retired and have little need to go out. Al’s finally decided it’s time to wear a (one of mine which I use to avoid fragrances and dust) face mask. I must get out later in the week, but plan to call ahead. May try to arrange for mail delivery for stuff instead. Best wishes for you and your children during these days of accommodation. Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Lizl! The eater has been up and down here as well. Last week the mornings were cold -8C to -12C. We have tiny patches of snow left from a storm last week. Today it’s supposed to be really warm, with a high of +16C (60F.) We’ll see. April showers..
      stay safe, having things delivered to your home sounds like a smart choice. I rather pay a little extra and have groceries delivered, rather than visiting a store. It seem like more and more businesses offer delivery services here now, very smart.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I’m looking forward to April showers to wash away the mold and dirt that the melting snow leaves behind. While we can get away with it, Al still goes out because he is a (quiet but) extreme extrovert. While I’m a chatty introvert. LOL! Yes, when we must go that way, the delivery services earn their pay and tips.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Maria,
    I think I remember a quote in a fortune cookie as kid which said something along the lines of “May you live in interesting times”. However,. I’m not sure if this is what Confucius had in mind.
    As you may recall, I live in Australia. Our school system is state based and here in NSW our schools are officially open but encouraging parents to keep their kids at home. Our kids are 16 and 14 and so are largely independent and are meant to be working online. However, my daughter did leave during the day to take the dog for a walk and then ended up going to the beach with a friend, which I didn’t know about but the friend’s family is careful and you are allowed to exercise with one other person. Moreover, I’d rather her be with a friend than walking too much alone. There’s a lot to weigh up.
    The kids’ school has said they’re not expecting parents to be teachers. So, it’s a bit different from homeschooling. It’s more school at home, if that makes sense. It’s harder of course for parents of younger children who probably do need to step in an bridge the gap and just leaving your child interacting with a screen all day doesn’t sound good over a couple of months, even if my son seems to love playing his games for hours on end. I have noticed that he responds to me being around and notices I’m here and seems to like it most of the time.
    Where we’ve been impacted most so far is with my daughter’s dance classes and church.
    My daughter is 14 and an aspiring dancer and she does something like 8 hours of dance after school per week. Having that migrate to the home is a big deal. The only place she can dance is in our kitchen and she was dancing much of Saturday so we couldn’t eat. Get my cup of tea. It’s been the only time I’ve really felt like a prisoner here.
    Church has also gone online and it’s been quite good. I miss church quite a lot during the flu season and so it’s great to be able to connect up like this. It’s also been very encouraging to hear wisdom about this collective fear and for many people I know who are already unwell, possibly even an expectation of catching the virus and not pulling through. It’s hard withdrawing from all your personal contacts when things are so stressful. That’s when you need these connections most. Oh to be able to go out for a simple cup of coffee with a friend!! At the same time, I have to be thankful for technology when is helping to bridge the gap. There is also this thing called a telephone which I’ve avoided a lot over the last 10 years and I think it’s going to get a lot more use.
    Take care & best wishes,
    Rowena

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  15. Seems like you two are awful busy staying at home! How nice she can actually go to school! What made me smile last week, during my spring break was to finish the first draft of my fitness book and send it to a local editor. Hans also worked on the house–taking down the old 30+ year wood siding and putting up new! He got the first 1/3 of the front done before the weekend rain. Glad you are still getting some exercise and taking care of yourself, Maria!

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  16. Congratulations on your contract!! It sounds like the children in that school are lucky to have you. Glad to hear your daughter is adjusting!

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