Canoes, wilted lettuce, handwritten letters… What teachers are doing during quarantine

So, what have teachers been up to in this time of quarantine?


Whelan family

Mr. Whelan heads into the wild.

Let’s face it– your teachers are probably having a better time in quarantine than you are.  All teachers seem to have “something” that they’re really into, whether that’s the great outdoors or gardening or reading or cooking. 

We decided to send out an email inquiring about their current activities (because there isn’t much else to do), and we got a variety of responses, some funny, some serious, and some comforting.

Read on.  Maybe you’ll find a way to fill some of your own free time.  

Ms. Bolotin:

Hey, I don’t have much free time now. I spend too much time in front of my computer. I usually go to yoga classes, but they are canceled now. I tried to walk my dog on the Manatee Ave causeway and got a parking warning. I don’t think you want this grim look on reality, unless you can change it into something funny. Sorry for not being very helpful. 

Mr. Hoonhout:

Fah shka hizzie [yes, that is from the actual quote from Mr. H.]. I’ve been trying to find a balance between being productive and not-too-productive (which can cause burn out). In my free time, I’m trying desperately to do enriching things beyond the magical cellphone– I’ve played more guitar, I’ve been listening to music, I’ve worked on writing (working on a novel!), and I’ve done some running and working out. The other day, I sat down and ate breakfast at the kitchen table, no music, no tv, no phone… Just quiet, just an open window, and it felt amazing– it felt, like the 90’s, haha. I feel as though this time in quarantine has brought me closer to myself.

I stare into my refrigerator wondering what I can cook for dinner using only two freezer-burned hot dogs, a piece of slightly wilted lettuce, and strawberry jam”

— Ms. Clough

Ms. Clough:

Ugh, I wish I did interesting things! In my free time, I homeschool my kids and teach them how to do normal math because “new math” is ridiculous. I try to sew masks, except I can’t sew. So I mostly yell at my sewing machine and pull random pieces of tangled thread out of it. And I stare into my refrigerator like a contestant on an episode of Chopped wondering what I can cook for dinner using only two freezer-burned hot dogs, a piece of slightly wilted lettuce, and strawberry jam.

Ms. Wildes:

In my free time, I have been reading a lot. I have been alternating books between nonfiction and fiction and enjoying both. I’ve also been getting outside as much as possible. While outside, I’m usually either exercising or practicing my photography. I’m also slowly catching up on the Netflix show The Crown.

Mr. Ruemenapp:

I hope you are doing well. Nothing very exciting to report here in my free time experiences. Between my challenges with technology in teaching from home and the revisions to the AP Exam because of current circumstances, I have been even more busy with school work than if we were at school. I have managed to get in a little more exercise as my Fitbit reads between 10,000 and 15,000 steps each day and I have worked on some lingering home improvement projects (the moldings on the floor we began installing at Christmas have finally been finished). Finally, I can’t tell you how much I miss live sports! I have sorely missed March Madness, the opening of baseball season, The Masters and our beloved Falcon sports and all those beautiful distractions that sports usually provide for me have been deeply missed over the past month (and the foreseeable future). I am way more excited about the NFL Draft than any reasonable person should ever be! That’s about it – I hope everyone stays safe and I look forward to returning to some form of normal life soon!

Dr. Ward:

I love to cook and have used my free time to try out new recipes, including this one:  

The focaccia bread turned out delicious, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a simple and yummy bread recipe. Additionally, I have been taking long walks with my dogs, Harry and Hazel, in the evenings while I listen to A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness on Audible. It has been a great escape to listen to a story about a world where humans co-exist with witches, vampires, and demons. The books have underlying science themes of alchemy, DNA sequencing, and evolution. It’s not quite Harry Potter, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless!

Mr. Moore:

I am spending a lot of time with my kids— reading, doing Wilson’s schoolwork, swimming in Mimi and Pa’s pool (we are living in Port Charlotte during the quarantine), playing basketball, etc. I have started running again–the first sustained running I have done since stepping down as track coach 5 or 6 years ago. I also started reading Bill Bryson’s One Summer (America 1927).

Mr. Whelan:

Of course I have been keeping close to home. Many people, including Dr. Pullen, have suggested going out to exercise and get closer to nature. I have gone on four short canoeing adventures in the area including the canoe trails at Robinson’s Preserve and the mangrove tunnels of Frog Creek Preserve on Terra Ceia. The canoe trips have been a safe activity since I am not around people at all. More importantly, I have been able to renew myself by immersing myself completely in the natural world. 

*Mr. Whelan sent in a few pictures. Check them out below.*

Mrs. Price:

How am I spending my time in quarantine?  Well, I have revitalized the old art form of letter writing! Just a new way of reaching out since it is not possible to visit in person and after a full day on the computer, I am not too anxious to speed a great deal of time on social media. Also ( and even better) I am doing a great deal of cooking and designing new recipes. My neighbors have loved all the baked goods I share with them as well. I used to make [paper]collages–it was a crazy fun hobby and now I am back to doing that too. I cover my notebooks with collages. The rest of the time, I, like my colleagues, spend a great deal of time teaching or preparing lessons. This virtual teaching is much more difficult than being in school with our students. We really miss you guys, too. 😊  I hope this has been helpful! Stay well.

Mr. Yanelli:

In my free time, I do my best to keep up with certain habits I’ve developed over the years. One of my cornerstone habits is to get in at least a 30-60 minute workout every single day. I’ve been doing that for well over a year at this point, so I suppose you could say that it’s a well-developed habit. I also read for at least an hour a day from a variety of sources to keep up with current events. In addition, I make sure to communicate with family and friends. Lastly, I do my best to make my wife laugh several times a day. She tells me that I’m not as funny as I think I am, but I can still make her laugh, so I don’t think she’s being completely honest!


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  • Mr. Whelan drifts into the great outdoors on his canoe.

  • Canoeing is a favorite past time of Mr. Whelan.

  • Mr. Whelan in his element, basking in the glory of Floridian waters.

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