Quarantine Chronicles #10 – Amanda Mayeaux, Professor/Educator

This is the tenth part in a series of images and interviews about how life has changed (or not) during the COVID-19 quarantine. The purpose is to show how we’re all in this together and we’re not all that dissimilar.

Amanda Mayeaux is a great friend of mine and brilliant educator. She spends her time as a professor at the University of Louisiana Lafayette preparing graduate students to be school administrators and taking their teaching to the next level. She’s written a new book titled Expertise in Every Classroom, and its available in print and e-book format. You can purchase the book here: Amazon and Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Q. How has the stay-home-order changed how you teach your own grad students?

A. I teach half online anyway – every other week my classes are online. But usually that’s not a lecture week, it’s activities. When you teach a 3-hour grad class via Zoom, it can get dull fast. Now I feel like I’ve gotten into my groove. I’m going to be better when it’s over because of this. 

I think I work more. The cool part about working at home is you’re at home, but the bad thing about working at home is you’re always working at home. So the first couple weeks I was constantly doing stuff, then I realized I had no schedule and I couldn’t keep up like that. So, I completely changed how I did things. I walk and run early in the morning and I talk to Jenny [a mutual friend] while I walk, then come home for quiet time with my coffee. I organize my office and get ready for the day, and I work until 5. And at 5, I’m done. There’s the occasional night class or evening that I need to finish something up, but in general I wrap up at 5. On the weekends I do some work, but it’s mostly catching up on reading or writing articles. It’s more relaxed. I just realized if we don’t have a schedule, you’ll go crazy.

The positive is, I feel like I have more time for my students. I have standing meetings with my doctoral meetings via Zoom and they are getting so much done.

It’s a big learning curve, but it’s not impossible.

Q. How’s the family coping?

A. My granddaughter lives in Nevada, so I’m used to doing the FaceTime chats with her and my daughter. Since we’ve been home and I’ve set my green screen up for Zoom, we’ve tried to add in some fun things for her. She loves Frozen, so we set up a Frozen castle background and my husband and I dressed up in hats and scarves. She asked me “Honey! Where’s Elsa?” It was so cute. We were supposed to see them in person next week, but obviously those plans have changed.

The bigger thing for me has not been seeing my parents and my in-laws. That’s been very hard because we were used to visiting them a lot. 

That’s been the worst part for my grad students who are all teachers and preparing to be administrators. They walked out of school on a Friday and didn’t get to see their kids again. There was no closure. Calling them on the phone is not the same.

Q. What is your silver lining?

A. I think our world view is expanding. People are learning to do things they didn’t think they could do. But we’re also learning to appreciate what we have. And we’ll be kinder to people like teachers. 

I know I for one appreciate the teachers my kids have infinitely more than I already did. The amount of pressure put on these fine educators has been immense, and they are coping with the same things at home that we all are.

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