Everyone has their pandemic story. I happened to spend my pandemic in Poland.
My Pandemic Story
My pandemic in Poland started from a small panic. If I didn’t die from Covid-19, I was going to die of starvation. Why? Because suddenly I was out of work.
Then slowly my university got themselves together, and we started lessons online. Then my other contracts decided that the pandemic was going to last awhile. We might as well have our meetings online too.
Left in the lurch
The pandemic in Poland hit schools hard. My kids finished out the school year last year entirely online. This was without having even a single lesson live with their teachers. For me, this was very not cool. My then 8th grader had to prepare for her very important 8th grade exams alone, from home. Exams were in person at school though. She also had to apply to high schools and deliver documents in person. She got into a school on her list. While for some students that school may have been their first choice, it was her last choice.
My 6th grader, a very diligent pupil, was overwhelmed with all the expectations of her teachers. This teacher wanted homework on Teams. This one on Messenger. That one by text message. Another one on the Librus school platform even though you can only send one attachment per message. It was chaotic. And despite the fact that some teachers were having difficulties with the technology themselves, many were not at all understanding that an 11-year-old child might also be having difficulties.
I, on the other hand, was kicking ass at university. Every semester, I post the syllabus and all materials online for the students. Thus it was relatively painless for me to ease into posting, collecting, and grading assignments online. My students for the most part kicked ass too. They still came to class (online), completed course work, participated in class, and remained the generally cool groups of people they were. One thing working in our favor was the fact that we had had a semester together in person. We knew each other and had a group vibe going on.
We also did our best to support each other because let’s face it, that first semester of the pandemic was really weird. I got to see all the fantastic culinary creations of my students, their at-home haircuts, weight loss successes, and one student’s father in his underwear. It was a great semester.
Anyhow, the school year ended unceremoniously, and my kids and I spent a very nice summer together. We masked up and visited a few places in Poland. I rode my bike like crazy and planted all kinds of stuff in my garden. We all had our fingers crossed for an improvement in the Covid-19 situation and for maybe even a vaccine. Then the school year started, live and in person.
I have to say, I didn’t have high hopes. I mean when school was still in session the previous school year and Covid-19 started, my kids reported in amazement that real live soap had appeared in the bathrooms at school. Toilet paper there wasn’t, but soap there was. Wow. That just didn’t bode well for any future success for kids at school unless a vaccine was developed. My older daughter started her new school – high school. Before she could really get to know her classmates, boom, it was lockdown again. And there the kids have been, in lockdown, until this week when they have started going back.
As for me, my whole school year got turned on its head when I was forced to resign from my position at university. To start, I have to say that I loved my job, and I was great at it. No impostor syndrome here. I got to teach English, American history and Culture, plus Media Communications, Marketing and PR, and Copywriting. I was in my element. Unfortunately for me, my university was purchased by a larger university. The new university cut all of our pay. In my case in half, taking my already not very good pay down to an utterly abysmal pay. I’ve really missed teaching those students this year. It hurt my heart, but life goes on. Now in addition to my previous contracts, I also work as a translator, proofreader, and copywriter for a large, international corporation.
Here we are again in the pandemic in Poland
So here we are almost at the end of another school year. Most teachers and school support staff have been vaccinated by now. My now 7th grader started back this week. I think it has been a stressful week for her, but she was happy to see (some) of her classmates. My high schooler starts back on Monday, and she is not looking forward to the commute across town. Not much will change for me, but I must admit it was difficult for 2 students and 2 teachers to manage to have lessons online at the same time in our microscopic apartment. Most days one parent plus one child stayed in the city while the other parent plus the other child stayed at the house in the village. It was the only way.
Soon I will be fully vaccinated, and I look forward to some time in the future when my children can get vaccinated too. I am keeping my fingers crossed that school will stay in session and will continue without incident next school year. We don’t have big plans for our summer vacation, more of the same of last year. We will have some BBQs (which we didn’t have last year) with our vaccinated friends, visit some places in Poland on our list, most certainly go to Bolesławiec to replenish our collection of pottery, and chill out in our backyard.
Once again for all of us and our pandemic stories, fingers crossed.
Want to see where we were at in the pandemic about a year ago? Check out this post So you spent your pandemic in Poland…