Distance learning has been not only a big change for students and teachers but for counselors as well. As the pandemic and quarantine continues, counselors have had to find new ways to work from home while still being able to interact with their students. Mrs. Warford, one of West Ranch’s beloved counselors, takes The Paw Print through her average day as a counselor in quarantine.
Mrs. Warford starts off her day early in the morning. Typically, she would have to wake up much earlier to do many tasks before leaving for and driving to school. However, distance learning has made her mornings much easier. Now, she is able to get ready and walk down the hall to her kitchen table.
“Now I just need to get up and take a shower,” she explained. “I do not even have to put makeup on if I do not want to. The mornings have been a lot easier.”
Mrs. Warford starts her work day from her kitchen table. One of the nice things about working from home is that her dog sits by her and keeps her company throughout the work day.
“Of course the biggest adjustment is not seeing my students. That has been a big challenge,” Mrs. Warford expressed. “But I think the nice part is that my new students seem to reach out through Zoom and that has been very helpful to let me get to know a lot of people.”
She shared that Zoom has allowed her to get to know some of her students better as some of them are more comfortable taking through the computer rather than face to face. Unfortunately, she sees fewer students than she would on campus, but she still enjoys getting to know some of her students. In addition, not having somebody right in front of her has allowed her to learn more about the computer and research more.
Mrs. Warford explained that there are many disadvantages of distance learning. She explained that “just like everyone else, I want to be back at school. That is why I got into this field because I like working with students. More disadvantages are I am kind of stuck at this computer constantly. It seems like because I’m in the kitchen that I am always peeking if there is an email or something going on. I have to get used to ending my work day like I normally would.”
As working from home became the new normal, Mrs. Warford found that she has become permanently affixed to her kitchen table. At school, her work day was structured by the clock. However, in distance learning she finds it hard to take a break because as soon as something new pops up she tries to work on it and get it done so she can end her day.
“I noticed that my routine is really just being stuck at my computer and I am not taking care of myself physically,” she said. “I am not getting up and moving like I should and I have noticed that even my eating habits are crazy. Everything is all based on when I kind of have a moment.”
She admitted that she does not have a specific end time to her work day. Some days she tells herself she is going to end at three, but finds herself at her computer past three.
After a long work day, Mrs. Warford tries to do something active. Mrs. Warford and her two daughters have tried to start exercising and eating healthier since quarantine.
“I started walking last week. I left last week and I went on a walk around three every day and then I came back, and I would get caught back up and log back in to see what was happening on my computer. It is a lot harder to end my work day since I am always connected to the computer,” she acknowledged.
After a long work day, Mrs. Warford prepares dinner and sits at the dinner table with her family to eat. Once dinner is done and cleaned, Mrs. Warford takes some time to relax and watch some television with her family.
A staple in her day is talking to her parents over the phone.
“Talking to my parents is something I do everyday,” Mrs. Warford shared with a smile on her face. “It is harder to do because they are older and they like to stay on the phone for a very long time, so I like to put that phone call off ‘till like eight because it is nine o’clock where they live. It is very time consuming but it is a part of my day.”
After a long day, Mrs. Warford gets ready for bed and goes to sleep. She likes to go to sleep early as it allows her to be up and ready for the next day.
While quarantine has allowed Mrs. Warford to work from the comfort of her own home, there are still aspects of in-person learning that she misses.
“Definitely want to be back at school just like everybody else. I am really missing my students and the longer it goes on I realize how wonderful my job is and how much I miss seeing the students I get to see everyday.”
As a counselor, Mrs. Warford has adapted to many of the challenges that distance learning has presented. Despite these challenges, she has still been able to connect to her students while finding time for herself and her family.