Covid in California: Dining out and Teaching in with Longtime Friends, Sue and Michelle

March 18, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Who has eaten out in LA since restaurants reopened for outdoor dining?

I personally haven't, but, on January 30th, I interviewed two women who were enjoying the first weekend of restaurants being open for business in 2021.

Meet Sue and Michelle. I noticed these two lovely women enjoying a little, social distance, outdoor lunch at the one and only, Art's Delicatessen. It was their first time out since everything reopened the day before.

This is a halfway point for them - they each live in other parts of the valley…they are walking buddies and they are both teachers. In fact, they are the best of friends and were even in each other's weddings!

Sue & Michelle wanted to see what this whole outdoor dining thing was about, in order to switch up their normal walking routine, so they met halfway this day at Art's. I asked them if they felt safe in this "new normal" and they both replied, "Yes."

When getting to chat with them, I learned a lot more about how virtual learning has been both a positive and negative experience during Covid-19.

They both teach in Burbank (virtually). One of them gets completely dressed up and one wears sweat pants to teach behind the screen, for now.

RR: What did you miss most about life before Covid-19?

"Social aspects. Seeing students, teachers…"

RR: Has it been challenging teaching virtually on a screen in terms of connection?

“Yes and no…we have office hours so that kids can come on Zoom for extra one-on-one help.”

RR: What has been the biggest challenge during this time?

"I feel bad for kids that don’t have good environments and for those kids who feel like they are not able to see the world."

Sue teaches middle school, while Michelle teaches high school. Both of their stories are so fascinating!

RR: How do you think classroom learning has changed with this "new normal" of Zoom learning?

"Certain things will digress and certain executive function skills because they are kind of on their own. They have to figure out how to get up and manage their time differently than they would if they were going to school."

"It really depends on how disciplined the students and even the parents are. They are not required to turn on their screen. About half of my 6th graders actually turn it on..."

A technique that some teachers have adopted is to have the students turn on their camera and show his or her face when they first begin class, and then again at the end of class. “Even if you just want to show your nose, that’s fine. I just want to know that there’s a person behind the circle. When they don’t have their camera on, all you see is the circle with their initials in it.”

I found it so interesting to hear what it's like to teach via Zoom, from teachers who have worked in the school district for many years.

“Sometimes I know they are playing video games or doing something else because they are laughing and I’m not saying something funny...", Michelle relayed.

RR: What is the funniest story you’ve heard from virtual learning?

Michelle gave them 10 minutes to complete a task, and told the kids that they would go over it together. After 5 minutes, one kid unmuted himself, and then proceeded to ask, “I’m all done, do I have time to go take a shower?” ... "They’re all over the place. A kid was smoking on camera…and I said, ‘you need to sit down so I can’t see it’ and the kid said, ‘that’s ok I’ll move’."

RR: How do you think virtual learning has impacted students during Covid?

6th grader: “If not for virtual teaching, I would want to kill myself”. He was exaggerating, but the point is that Zoom school has given him some type of stability and community, while still growing, even if it’s coming from behind the screen. The kids are so genuine in that way…" 
You know what they say..."kids say the darndest things".

Thank you, Sue and Michelle, for being gracious with your time and for sharing your stories with me! I hope you enjoyed your meal at Art's!


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