Teacher Tuesday: Denise Wingfield

Coffee is a staple for distance learning survival for Ms. Wingfield.

courtesy of Denise Wingfield

Coffee is a staple for distance learning survival for Ms. Wingfield.

7:00 AM: Up and showered. Ready to start the last day of the week. Grab a waffle and a large large large cup of coffee. Check on my mom who is sitting across the room. She’s not been feeling well for about 3 weeks. So I am in Harrisonburg with her, teaching from her living room and taking care of her. 

8:45: Get ready for the day. Make sure and double check that all assignments and links are ready to go for everybody in Schoology. Check on Mom.  She’s  not feeling well. Go back and check on advisory and get the Google meet link up and ready to go.

9:00: Meet with my advisory which is a bunch of really cool kids. We got to see Jackson’s dog again which is always a plus. We talked about the fact that interims that were coming up and made sure that everybody went back and checked to see if they were missing anything as far as turning in assignments. 

Reheat coffee. 

5th block AP BIO: Remind AP they’ve got their first test next week on ecology. Also reminded them to keep up with their due dates and don’t do anything stupid like wait until Monday at the last minute to get everything done because it’s just gonna lead to a bunch of stress and stuff not getting done. Reminded them that the ecological pyramid homework was due. Today’s topic was animal behavior. We went over the animal behavior notes which everybody seemed pretty mesmerized by. Animal behavior is actually really cool. We talked about how the smallest animal can have a brain that can figure out things and that they are usually underestimated. Ended with cutting them loose to go work on their online mealworm behavior lab.

Make a new cup of coffee. 

6th Block ACADEMIC BIO: Reminded everyone  that they had metric labs that were due from our last unit. Also reminded them that their take-home test was due. Trying something new with them, letting them do a take-home test. We will see how that works. 

Started the ecology unit with them by showing them a short clip of the circle of life from the Lion King. Great introduction; everybody loves the Lion King. We talked about biotic and abiotic factors that influence an ecosystem, we talked about communities and populations and biospheres. Got more comments from them today than I’ve gotten all year as well as questions. No cameras on lol but they are there. Ecology appears to be much more exciting than microscopes and triple beam balances. I get it kids I really get it. Ecology is much more exciting for me too.

LUNCH: Checked on mom who doesn’t seem to be feeling much better at all. Fixed a quick lunch and checked in with my science department crew. We always do online lunch with each other. It’s a really cool way to keep up with your friends. Checked emails.

7th Block ISR: Got together with the small family otherwise known as ISR. I showed them my unique way of keeping up with stuff when I’m trying to do research. It’s definitely not for everybody but the importance is trying to figure out how to take a broad topic, which they are supposed to be figuring out, and figure out where do you go from there. What is your question? What do you want to research? How do you put that into bite-size pieces that you can research.? How do you get those bite-size pieces to coherently fit together? How do you make a plan? 

I love this class. It’s not very easy to teach people how to do research as opposed to actually doing the research. And we are at a definite disadvantage this year of not being in the lab. I. MISS. THE. LAB. But they are troopers and we’re working through things. A couple of them already have project ideas already so that’s what we’re basically working on.

8th Block PLANNING

Have a meeting of all the Titan Time leaders of which I am one for 4th block. Start meeting and tell them that I am expecting an online phone call from my mom’s doctor. I have to leave the meeting, go consult with the doctor who recommends that mom goes to the ER. Had to leave the meeting (will have to get caught up on that sometime later) and call the rescue squad. Squad came and picked up mom and went to the hospital. I cannot get in for two hours until she tested negative for Covid which she did. They do a CT scan and discover she has an abdominal abscess. She is scheduled tomorrow morning for a procedure.

One of my science department friends drives from two hours away from her house to Harrisonburg to come hang out with me so I’m not dealing with this all by myself. Once they let me in to see mom and I talked to the doctors, my friend and I went back to my mom’s house, and ordered a pizza. I don’t think either of us was that hungry. She stayed until about 10:30  and got back to her house at about midnight. There is nothing, nothing, nothing in the world like having true friends.


That was pretty much my day. Juggling 26 balls at once. I’ve pretty much spent my whole weekend over at the hospital with my laptop in tow trying to handle my mom’s care and school at the same time. Just say that things are a little stressful is an understatement. It makes me glad that I have taught as long as I have taught because I don’t know what I would do if I was a new teacher trying to handle all of this. Even though you may have taught awhile, the online scenario pretty much makes it as if you were a first year teacher all over again. You have to re-create everything you do in an online version. I will say this though. I think what we’re dealing with right now, at least on my end school-wise, is vastly improved over the spring. Teachers are working their butts off, I like my kids, they seem engaged. We’re doing OK.