Am I Above Water Yet?

I started teaching grade 5 online for the Toronto District School Board on September 24th, 2020. This is the first week I’ve really felt like my head was above water (It’s January 23, 2021). I have been a teacher for over 20 years and this is the first time I have taught grade 5 (besides covering a short leave a decade ago). I love teaching online and it’s probably the hardest I have worked in my career.

In case you are feeling like you are not above water yet this school year, I want to encourage you that it is coming. Here is a brief look at the stages I went through to this point.


  1. Not responding to texts, emails, messages. Annoyed people would email me – especially forwards! Who has time for that??
  2. Using sticky note that says “buy tissue” to blow nose.
  3. Going to bed after midnight because of work.
  4. Feeling overwhelmed, not sure how to do everything required in life, but “keeping it together” (mostly).
  5. I would complain about all the work, but I don’t have time.

At Sea level

  1. Working until 7-8 at night.
  2. Responding to texts but not emails.
  3. Finally getting a handle on the grocery shopping. Yay tissue!
  4. Thinking it may be ok soon but not wanting to tempt fate.
  5. Only talking to people who don’t need my support.

Above water

  1. Finally clearing out my email inbox.
  2. Responding to friends.
  3. Finishing work on time (5-6 in the evening).
  4. Going to bed on time.
  5. Feeling I have a handle on it (and maybe having some time to complain about the fact that they sent an email saying report cards were due in 2 weeks, when they had not yet fixed the report card system, so I couldn’t start report cards yet…).


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