A day in a life of teaching during a Pandemic Photos and Story By: Una Stanisavljevic

What might seem like an unconventional setting, teachers are put to the test utilizing their creative expertise to assist students in expanding their knowledge. Behavior Support Specialist, Irena Stanisavljevic, comes to work at Valencia Valley Elementary every day with a smile on her face, excited to help in and out of the classroom. Along with daily schedules adjusted to fit the peer's needs, innovative ways are being met in order to provide essential learning virtually.

An inside glance of what a typical classroom free of bustling students looks like at Valencia Valley Elementary on Tuesday, Sep. 8, 2020. (Photo/Una Stanisavljevic)

Starting off her day bright and early, BSS Stanisavljevic begins by logging into her computer and checking in with all her students. "I chose to go into this profession because I love being around children. They keep me young," said Stanisavljevic. Bringing the classroom into their homes, along with the help of other teachers, pupils are able to work synchronously elevating their mental health. "It helps me a lot when I see their faces light up," says Stanisavljevic, who works one-on-one with students who struggle to focus on assignments.

Collecting data on student behavior, Mrs. Stanisavljevic composes special breakout rooms that help students adjust their performance. Before COVID-19 broke out, she would use this time to go outside for five minutes, reinforcing a positive mindset. Now with the majority of the student's work done over Zoom, Mrs. Stanisavljevic uses the power of fundamental communication which encourages students to express how they're feeling. This information helps the school psychologist to properly assess their behavior and create an IEP, Individualized Educational Program.

Irena Stanisavljevic sits at her desk while zooming with fellow students, providing updates on their progress on Tuesday, Sep. 8, 2020. (Photo/Una Stanisavljevic)

Plastered with helpful posters around the classroom, these visuals encourage students to absorb knowledge and apply it to their daily lives while quarantined. With every assessment at hand, useful proponents are there to help guide them in constructing sentences.

From counting on their fingers to identifying colors, many simple tasks require patience and steady progress. Some of the most popular teaching tools used are "Rainbow Word Wizards", "Zero the Hero", and "Sight Words". All of these techniques help students on expanding their vocabulary while emphasizing the color and number in context.

Mrs. Stanisavljevic stands behind a "Rainbow Sight Words" poster used to help students construct sentences on Tuesday, Sep. 8, 2020. (Photos/Una Stanisavljevic)

For many coming back into the classroom can seem like a distant reality. Working around the clock, teachers are met with another challenge: Zoom etiquette. According to Mrs. Stewart, "students can get easily distracted and lose focus." Noticeable in children ages five to seven, their attention span is limited. Unable to sit in a chair for a longer period of time can create defiance. Finding engaging activities such as Go Noodle, a website focusing on mindfulness through videos, allows students to get up and exercise in the comfort of their home.

Practicing proper Zoom etiquette, students are taught to utilize unmute and mute in order to participate in an online setting on Tuesday, Sep. 8, 2020. (Photo/Una Stanisavljevic)

Towards the end of her day, Mrs. Stanisavljevic proceeds by being in communication with the rest of the teachers and creating a plan for the following day. Replying to the final set of emails, she organizes her workspace and walks around the perimeter ensuring everything is in place. Due to safety precautions, wiping of commonly used surfaces and remaining six feet apart are all advised throughout the work period. While this fall semester may not be what we all expected, "I'm hopeful that students are excited to come back when it's safe" says BSS Stanisavljevic.

Mrs. Stanisavljevic answering a phone call in the classroom on Tuesday, Sep. 8, 2020. (Photo/Una Stanisavljevic)
Created By
Una Stanisavljevic