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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Back to School Haul: pandemic cart teaching edition

My back to school shopping definitely looked a little different this year! Yes, some of these are things that I should not have to purchase with my own money- I fought hard to have the district provide many of them but was unsuccessful. I tried to be judicious with my purchases though, and not get sucked into buying all the things for a teaching situation that is so constantly changing. I'm no expert in cart teaching, or pandemic teaching for sure, but these are the things I got that have been working for me so far teaching elementary music in person on a cart in a hybrid model.

Affiliate links included in this post- this does not affect the purchase price or experience, and I was not sponsored or otherwise compensated for sharing this information.

1. Voice Amplification System

One thing I knew I would need teaching with a mask on was a personal microphone. I probably should have been using one much sooner, considering how often I experience vocal fatigue as a music teacher, but I know I would not survive without it now! I ordered this one, but there are many different options available online and I honestly did not spend too much time deciding which one would be best. This has worked well for me so far though, and the price was good! Sidenote, I learned since taking the photo above that wearing the mic outside my mask works just as well and it's much more comfortable.

2. Medical Grade Masks

Please note, I am NOT an expert on this AT ALL! I spent a lot of time looking at the research on aerosols, mask efficacy, and which PPE is most practical for music teachers. I tried a lot of different versions but what I have settled on for now are the medical grade disposable masks like these. With the number of students I see each week etc I did not feel comfortable with a regular cloth or non-medical masks, but with this extra trick shown in the video below I have found these to be the most well-fitted for my face while still being comfortable enough to speak in and stay off my mouth. 

3. Water Bottle

I have become a big water drinker in the last couple of years and really believe it makes a huge difference in my overall health and energy, and my vocal health in particular. I have been using the same water bottle at school for years but this year since I'm on a cart, I needed something that was spill-proof but easy to take a quick sip from- I ended up getting this one and so far I love it (the colors are pretty great too)!

4. Cup Holder

With my new water bottle I also needed a place to keep it on my cart, and this cup holder worked out perfectly. It is very stable and holds my water bottle securely, and it's easy to attach anywhere on my cart too. 

That's it! It was very strange, honestly, not to be setting up my classroom and coming up with ways of streamlining and organizing like I usually do, but there are plenty of new challenges to deal with now and I'm learning how to adapt better every day. If you have any items that you've found especially helpful for pandemic cart teaching, I'd love for you to share them below! Don't forget, if you're looking for more ideas for all aspects of pandemic music teaching, head to my page below:

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