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A Post-Pandemic Homecoming, Smiling through our masks

Smiling through our masks


by Cathie Maglio

The school year started the same as it had since March 2020– working from home, supporting teachers from my schools remotely. The teachers sent me their class lists as always and I enrolled the students into the math and English software. Then I emailed back instructions for students to enroll in their classes. Same old online drill.

But that changed suddenly in mid-September. East Boston High School had added a 7th grade and those teachers were not familiar with our software. Everyone being fully vaccinated, I scheduled a visit to the school to meet and train the new teachers, just like before the pandemic. I was excited, and a little nervous. It had been a year and a half since I had set foot in a classroom and talked face to face with live teachers and students.

I got up at 5 AM, showered, dressed, gathered up my computer and everything else I needed, and was out the door at 6. I remembered that I have to leave this early to get a space in the school parking lot. I gunned the engine and was on my way to visit a school I had not stepped into since March 15, 2020! I remember that day because I bought a school sweatshirt on my way out. I was in the school so much I felt like part of the community and wanted that sweatshirt with the school logo to confirm my membership. Now it was September 2021 and I was heading back to the same school I had left on a Friday in March 2020. A very long weekend indeed!

Even though I knew that almost all students and staff were vaccinated and wearing masks, I planned to stay in one area of the building and not indulge my habit of roaming around visiting other teachers no matter how much I wanted to. This plan worked the first day. Then one of the teachers asked if I could administer the Accuplacer test to his classes. I caved instantly and we planned a day for it.

The day I went to administer the test my low-contact plan did not work so well. I was on the third floor. I just sneaked down the hall to say hello to two teachers I had worked with before. I had missed chatting with them while school was closed. It was just supposed to be a brief “Hi” but then there was a glitch with the computers and I had to go down to the second floor to find the tech person. I didn’t anticipate that teachers would see me in the corridor and come out of their rooms to say hello and tell me how good it was to see me again. I couldn’t help responding that it was good to see them as well! Even teachers I had not worked with hailed me in the corridors, telling me it was good to see me back. How could I not respond?

I have been back a few times since that first visit to train new teachers. I set up shop in my usual corner of the school library. It’s a quiet place to work between classes. I like seeing familiar faces there and chatting with Joe, the librarian. There are still other teachers I want to touch base with in the coming weeks. I feel comfortable in the school now. Whatever worries I had about being back in the building have blown away with the 5 AM mist.

I did not realize how much I missed being in schools and working with live teachers and students. It makes getting up before dawn and leaving the house in the early chill worth every yawn and shiver! Climbing up those worn granite stairs felt like a homecoming. You just don’t get the face-to-face warmth through email, text, and phone. Even with masks on, I know the teachers are smiling and happy to see me. Nothing can rival the good human feeling of being able to interact with people again.

The pandemic has made me appreciate many things I used to take for granted. I’m not taking anything for granted anymore.

Cathie Maglio is a JFYNetWorks learning specialist.


Other posts authored by Cathie can be found here.


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The Origins of Blended Learning

by Gary Kaplan

Clayton Christensen’s contribution to education

The term Blended Learning has its origin in work done by Clayton Christensen and his colleagues at the Harvard Business School in the 1990s and early 2000s. They coined the term Disruptive Innovation, a coinage that has seeped into the nooks and crannies of discourse in many fields. One of those fields is education.

Durfee & Needham HS Students Respond to In-Person Instruction

Narrated by Greg Cunningham

SEPTEMBER 2021 PODCAST – This month’s podcast features students from Durfee High School in Fall River and Needham High School as they respond to the return of full, in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 school year. The Durfee students also share their excitement on entering a brand new, state-of-the-art building, while students from both schools express their hope that health and safety protocols will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

a Good Teacher shapes our future

by Cathie Maglio

They do so much more than teach

This blog post is dedicated to all the teachers I have had, all the teachers I work with, and all teachers everywhere!

Think back to when you were in school, and the teachers that taught you. Can you remember your favorite teachers? I remember my two favorite high school teachers, Mr. Lindsay who taught me algebra and calculus, and Mrs. Schack who taught me chemistry. I loved going to their classes. (I also remember some teachers who were not my favorites, but we’ll pass over that.)

Remembering 911

We promised to NEVER FORGET

JFYNet staff remembering that fateful day.

Paula Paris

September 11, 2001, was a day that changed the narrative of life in the United States as we once knew it. Wars were always fought somewhere else. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the thwarted attack on the mystery target of United Flight 93, changed that narrative irreparably.

Roadmap to Recovery II

by Gary Kaplan

Helping Teachers Implement Acceleration

We all know that the coming year will be the most challenging in memory because of the effects of the covid shutdown. Learning loss, or unfinished learning, has disrupted attainment of grade-level skills, aggravated achievement gaps and delayed college plans. Commissioner Riley has said that the pandemic has made the challenge of serving students with varied academic needs “significantly more pronounced and widespread.”

Deeper Learning, A springboard to recovery and acceleration

A springboard to recovery and acceleration

by Eileen Wedegartner

As schools prepare to open their doors next month, hopes are high for a return to a “normal” year where students can be in school consistently for face-to-face learning.

From the President down to parents and students, everyone recognizes the value inherent in the school experience. Schools are not only temples of learning– they also provide social experiences, extra-curricular activities, food sustenance, and a safe haven.

Roadmap to Recovery, How to rebound from the pandemic

by Gary Kaplan

How to rebound from the pandemic

“How much did the pandemic affect students?” asked the lede of a July 28 New York Times story. The answer came in the next line: “Dramatically.”

The Times story is one of many reports on a McKinsey & Company study released July 27 with the title “COVID-19 and education: The lingering effects of unfinished learning.” This study is being received as the first authoritative statement on the question that preoccupies the education world.