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For phys-ed teacher, social distancing makes remote teaching very difficult

LGBTQ sports coronavirus impact: Jonathan Vriesema misses sports but he mostly misses the personal connection he has with students.

Jonathan Vriesema really misses the daily rhythms of sports.

Outsports is asking LGBTQ people in sports how they are impacted by the coronavirus crisis and its effects on all aspects of daily life. Today: Massachusetts phys-ed teacher Jonathan Vriesema, He identifies as gay.

Overall, I’m doing quite well so far despite my school closing. My school system has shut down until at least April 6. I feel awful for my students (and the city of Worcester as a whole) because everything was very sudden.

I keep thinking every day about my students and what I can do for them. This school year, I saw so much improvement in all my students.

One of my favorite parts of teaching physical education is when that light bulb goes off for a student. Whether it be a skill, a game, a strategy that they are able to comprehend and pass it on to others in their class, it all makes my job worth all the blood, sweat and tears I put into it.

In times like these, you really start to find out what your true purpose in life is when it gets cut off right away. I have no choice but to put content online. However, I have no knowledge if any of my students are actually doing anything to stay physically active.

Making an impact is very difficult virtually. All I have is hope and faith that things will return to “normal” as soon as possible.

As a first-year PhD student at Springfield College, classes are completely virtual for the rest of the semester. This was difficult to swallow, even though I’m only on campus once a week.

I have made so many important friendships, including both students and faculty, and it’s difficult to not be in classes with them week to week. I am (selfishly) thankful I don’t have to spend lots of money on gas now, but it is completely worth it when I’m learning so much in every class week by week.

This will definitely be a new adjustment both as a teacher and a student. Although April 6 was the date given to go back to teaching in Worcester, I’m not so sure that will even happen.

It’s difficult to watch this happen not only to our country but our world as a whole. I believe everything will be OK, but something this widespread makes me go back and think of the impact of 9/11 and how long it took to overcome that.

Social distancing has not been easy when my thoughts are so much on the teachers and students I impact on a daily basis, and for all who impact my daily life. It’s not easy being secluded to your home and not being able to do much of anything in person.

Although I may not be on a sports team currently, it is hard to get through day-to-day life without sports.

Not a day of my almost 28 years of life has there been absolutely no sports. It’s been just over a week and I’m realizing how dependent I have been on them. I used to like to put any game on and feel relief from a hard day’s work. I could zone out, decompress and forget about life’s problems for a few hours. However, now that all seasons are suspended, I lose a gigantic element of my daily life that I look forward to.

My thoughts and prayers are with those directly affected by the coronavirus, the leaders of our towns, cities, states and countries, and for those who don’t have an income due to this pandemic.

Jonathan Vriesema is entering his fifth year as a physical education teacher and is currently teaching in the Worcester Public School system in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is also beginning his PhD in Physical Education – Teaching and Higher Administration at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts, with a goal in mind of writing his dissertation about inclusiveness for LGBTQIA+ youth in PE. He can be reached via email at jvriesema27@gmail.com and followed on Facebook (Jonny Vriesema).

Read Jonathan’s coming out story.

If you want to share how the coronavirus is affecting your life, please email Jim Buzinski (kandreeky@gmail.com)