Placing an order at a deli counter while wearing a mask and standing 6 feet away can be difficult. Try teaching a class full of schoolchildren and connecting with students who are themselves wearing masks.
Teachers who in ordinary times rely on their voices to convey nuances of language and manage classroom behavior are tasked with not sounding like the trombone-produced “wah wah” of the Charlie Brown TV specials while protecting themselves and their students from the coronavirus.
To help themselves communicate with students, teachers have turned to masks with clear patches over their mouths, set up plexiglass bubbles inside classrooms so they can speak without masks, and in some cases turned to props to get across how they are feeling.
Stephanie Wanzer, a teacher who works with special education students in Fairfield County, Connecticut, uses a stick with an image of a smile during her sessions.
“I try to