So, this past month has been crazy. No need to tell any of you. Every time I’ve thought to myself, “I should go blog” I get overwhelmed and stressed out and crabby and then don’t. But then I think about how I’ll want to have this time in my life documented for the future… so here I am.
I’m going to try and break this down into a few separate posts. For today, I thought general recap of the past 4 weeks would be good to start things off.
WEEK 1 (March 16-20): Denial
I like to call this Virus Week. This was the first week that we really took action here in Minnesota. Schools were closed down, and my piano contest that was supposed to happen that weekend leading into that week, was also cancelled. Very last minute. As in, my van was packed and I was ready to leave to deliver everything to the U of M and then they called it off. Very stressful for me. At that point I gave the option to my students that if they wanted to move to online lessons they could–but I had never actually tried doing an online lesson ever so that was a big learning curve for me. About 1/4 of my students moved to online. I couldn’t wrap my head around the way things were going or the possibility that they would close down schools for WEEKS. I honestly thought it might blow over.
It did not.
WEEK 2 (March 23-27): Overwhelmed
This was the week where everything started to fall apart for me. At this point I had more students starting to switch over to online lessons and a good handful that were still coming in person. Those that were still coming to my house were so appreciative to get out of the house and go somewhere and just do something normal. I really feel for these kids. But midway through the week the Governor of MN announced that we would be put on “stay-at-home” protocol starting that coming weekend for the next 2 weeks. And that meant that I would need to officially shift all of my lessons to online. Oh, and my computer decided to die. That’s fun, right? This was a really bad week for me emotionally.
WEEK 3 (March 30-April 3): Recuperation
This week was actually our Spring Break week, so I only taught on Monday (just a few online lessons) and then I had the rest of the week off. The kids were already pretty much on an extended Spring Break since they had not had any school work for the past 2 weeks leading up to this… so it really just felt the same for them. By this time they were getting a bit antsy to actually start online school since they were getting bored. We had implemented a schedule that included some writing and school work, but it’s just not the same. This was a good week for me to not have to stress about online lessons. It also gave me time to recover from the massive headaches I had been getting from the stress and having to listen/look at my computer screen for so many hours a day. However, even though I was not teaching, I did have to spend a few days of my break working on completing the grading process for the piano contest. It had officially been cancelled from happening in person, but we moved it to an online submission. So the previous weekend I spent pretty much that whole Saturday helping the judges trouble shoot all of their judging videos and critiques. The majority of my spring break week was taken up tabulating all the results into a series of spreadsheets. We normally work on this process together (with like a group of 15 of us) so it took significantly longer with only 4 of us working in our own homes. But we got it done! By the end of the week I was feeling much less stressed.
WEEK 4 (April 6-10): Hopeful
This week I started teaching ALL of my lessons online. By now I had ordered a new computer, transferred all my files and got everything ready. I was feeling more prepared and set up a new teaching station for all my supplies. I had even decided to try teaching standing more to combat my desire to lean in toward the screen while listening–which was killing my back. I had my highest load of students this week, which I just find amusing. I taught 66 lessons. And I’m happy to say that it actually went really well. It’s a whole mental shift.
This was also the week that the big kids started their online school. This went a lot better than I had anticipated. Everyone was excited to have purpose back in their day. And my kids really do love school and checklists, so that worked in their favor. Now they get up, have breakfast, and then go to their workstations for a couple of hours to work on their assignments. Everyone started to feel a bit more normal this week. Oh, and Tim’s workers started their season this week too. So he would get up and head right off to work as well. See? Starting to feel more normal.
WEEK 5 (April 13-now): Resolve
So here we are. That brings us up to this week. I’m really starting to get the hang of online lessons. My students are all getting to be pros at it too. There are just some things I have resigned myself to that won’t work for right now–like really working on pedaling techniques (I can’t see their feet!) or dynamics. I understand now that it takes a lot longer to communicate to my students by video and I’m having them mark more in their music.
The big kids are working independently on their online school. Tim is still heading off to do bids pretty much every day. He takes care of picking up food when we need it on his way home from the bids.
We might be living life like this for longer than I had expected, but I feel like we can do this now. Life has finally hit a new groove. Whew. It only took 4.5 weeks……………