There were more than a few times when I told students that I was not a television, video, or YouTube star, I was a human, talking in real time, and to actively listen and practice solid metacognitive thinking, having a dialogue/exchange is one of the ways we learn from each other. Face to face. In person.
I joked with my students (we started school on September 9) that now I am a YouTube star. One student said WHAT IF YOU DID MRS. LOVE?! What if I did indeed. My chubby face, grandma-wave-bye-bye-arms, and extremely warm workspace (yes, that’s the shed payment on my bar so I don’t forget) is not the makings of movie and screen magic. I gave them the metaphor it’s like they’re on Jupiter, I’m on Mars, and I’m their teacher in space. That analogy seemed to help frame our current situation.
But I am lucky. And I wish “luck” had nothing to do with it. My district and several neighboring ones are working remotely. Reading about the lengths teachers and parents are going to around the country, many schools opening to face to face instruction, closing right back up again, etc. I’m seeing tweets about being “allowed” to wear scrubs to school (!!!!!) and which ones don’t get wrinkly. My pitch for my novel: the future is a hybrid of schools/hospitals where the sick and dying are cared for by women in scrubs providing rotating read-alouds. Forever. The End.
Yes, teachers are asking for scrubs recommendations. And wondering about classroom management so kids keep their masks on. I can’t even get a Ford Dealership service manager to keep his mask on, what makes us think we can expect our colleagues and students to do so?
The big things: the skies are thick with smoke, hazy and orange, visibility and air quality down to nothing, somewhere in an orange man is plotting his return by lies, cheating, and stealing with complicit minions, fires are burning, COVID keeps killing, and there is not a thing I can do about it. Oh, and white supremacists continue to spew their toxic, hateful, racist, immature garbage for their trolls. And get published by Education Week.
The little things: my students did log on this week, by and large. I kept the cognitive load low. I helped a student with her science homework. I helped one student work out a flexible schedule so he could work 40 hours a week and still go to school (I know this doesn’t sound like “help” but I will do whatever I can to help this young man graduate and support his family.) We had great conversations in drawing class, and we now have a mermaid skeleton naming contest for next week.
I’m going to keep focusing on the little things. They are large in my heart.
P.S. This is hard.