Angel is a member of CUPE 1358 and an education assistant with Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board

I always thought I was a multitasker, but COVID has truly challenged my multitasking abilities. Also, I never thought scrubs and full PPE would be my everyday attire at school.

I also never thought I’d be outside juggling a Chromebook, helping kids online and supervising children at recess, all at the same time. Or on a computer helping a group of children who are at home, as well as children next to me who are working on different things and helping them when they get frustrated or overwhelmed.

These days, our jobs are helping children in class pay attention to the teacher – who is herself teaching to the computer screen – and do some physical activity and alternate work in the class. At the same time, we’re trying to be quiet in the same room while the teacher is teaching, helping students online whom you’d normally help in the classroom. And it’s always part of our job to notice the online student who is having a hard time and take them to a breakout room for extra support, all while helping the students who are next to you physically.

So high-five elbows to my fellow education assistants, teachers, early childhood educators, and child and youth workers, who are all in class and juggling online and in-person.

Most in the public don’t know what’s going on, but we do and we do our very best to try and make things work. We worry we aren’t doing enough to help the kids and how we’re going to get to everyone. I have to remind myself and my colleagues: Take a big breath. We will get through this.