Fighting Virtual Fatigue
We all have it. Here's how to fight back.
Teaching and learning in the virtual environment is tough! Students are disengaged, curriculum norms have been thrown out the window, timelines to return to school change on a weekly basis, and being honest... that *MUTE ALL* button has become our favorite platform feature.
The temptation to wallow in frustration, self-doubt, and the "When is this going to end?" mentality is a question we wrestle with on a daily basis. Here are a few things I have discovered over the past 11 months that keep me going.
Exercise daily - and I mean daily. Since going "fully virtual" in March 2020, I made a decision that I was going to use this time to get in the best shape of my life. I have run two half-marathons, 800 miles, and go for daily walks just to feel like I am part of society. I was an avid runner before, but the necessity to get out of the house has highlighted the importance of physical activity. We all know the power of endorphins, so do what you can to maximize the time we now have, if you have it!
Although I still keep a side of chips and salsa on-hand, I have developed a love affair with broccoli, green beans, and poached eggs. Whatever vices you have, do your best to fight back with healthy foods. They will keep your energy levels up and give your bodies the nutrients they need to maintain the best possible lifestyle.
Stay connected beyond virtual
I have strengthened old friendships, made new ones, and explored new places in the area (Alexandria, VA). Restaurants, parks, and businesses are now "Covid-friendly", and I have taken full advantage of this. I have found previously unknown waterfalls, trails, and parks, and use my running times to learn how to get to places on foot. All of these have allowed me to connect with my community and make sure the businesses in my area get my custom.
See beyond the shutdown
In the words of Bob Marley, "Every little thing is gonna be alright!" I'll be honest, it has taken a lot of faith to know that we will get through this, but I know that on the other side of this I will all have developed a greater sense of gratitude for the things I once took for granted.
Develop a new skill
In the early days of the shutdown, I picked up my guitar and began writing silly kids songs. Original titles like Because You Farted, We All Make Mistakes, Blow Blow Let It Go, and Change Your Thinking have become hits in my class. Most of these songs came to me on my walks or runs, and it's been wonderful seeing how my students request and love singing these. They even quote the lessons I try to teach in these songs throughout the day! The other day I made a mistake, only to hear one of my students tell me, "It's OK Mr. M - We all make mistakes!"
Here are a couple of these songs:
Blow, Blow, Let It Go! (a song about Coronavirus and Covid-19 safety):
We All Make Mistakes:
Find the positives
This shutdown has given me insight into my students' families, what day-to-day life is like at home, and has given me a greater sense of gratitude for what I have. I know not everybody has the freedom and flexibility I do, but the shutdown has made me more grateful for the power of education and the freedoms I once took for granted living in the USA.
Just keep going
Don't give up. Don't ever give up.
I hope this has been an insightful reminder, or confirmation that you are doing better than you think. I would love to hear what you have done to get through the shutdown, so please don't hesitate to send me a message and let me know!