Educator Elise Albrecht ‘06 shares her insights into teaching during the time of COVID-19. Albrecht is a middle school Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at the Howard School. She graduated from Denison summa cum laude with degrees in educational studies and English.

In an article in, Albrecht notes:

“Nothing is good enough in 2020. As I have heard many people say, everything is harder. Being single is harder. Being married is harder. Being alone is harder. Being together is harder. Teaching is harder, too. Think about writing the date at the top of all your assignments and looking at the name of this awful year we’re in every time you start to do your work. Think about discussing World War II in history class and being reminded of other great atrocities of the recent American past. Think about teaching young children to share without being able to share anything. Think about all the little things that brought you joy when you went to school — sneaking behind your teacher’s back to hold a cute boy’s hand in the hallway, getting a hug from your principal because they were proud of you, or eating someone’s leftover Oreo they didn’t want at snack time — and how all of those things are gone. I am grieving the loss, and our children are too. I have lost a lot of little things, but our collective loss is very, very big.

Perhaps the daily loss of everyday comforts is what makes the depression of distance so hard to endure. The anxiety I feel about going back to school, up close and personal, is hard to endure too. I don’t normally inflate worry like this. I have the right words to describe my experience. I have a way to explain my moods, to myself. I have anxiety and depression, but I am fairly regulated overall. I get mad at my alarm for waking me up, or I sleep in late when I’m very tired. I gripe and moan about small injustices that are unfair, and I typically let them go. But during COVID, I have begun to worry and fret and mother everything around me because mothering someone — really, truly caring in my own unique way — is the only way I know to get through. And, as a good, highly qualified teacher, I am also a very good sort of mother. Sort of.

December 3, 2020