It is no surprise to those who know me that I am a creature of habit. And that is an understatement. I like predictable. I like control. I like knowing what is coming next, knowing how to prepare or what to avoid. Perhaps it is a part of my insecurity. Perhaps it is leftover from a childhood that never felt fully grounded. Perhaps it is just the way the stars were aligned when I entered this world.
I don’t know how to do this. I doubt that any of us do. I feel like I just figured out how to teach my students in person, through conferences and strong eye contact and listening and giving space and providing materials and and and…
I just figured out how to do this in person, how do I do it in absentia?
I spend a lot of time finding the Just Right way to do all of it. All of it. And it’s never Just Right, but it’s usually pretty damn close. And when it’s off, I can typically figure out why it’s off and fix it. And it’s never a lesson or a unit. I teach writing and the writing process, so by this point in the year, they are finally independently writing. And moving through the process in their own way. I am just providing them with the guard rails so they stay on the road.
It is now when they are beginning to blossom. This is the sweet spot. The turning point, when the itty bitty little 6th graders who entered in September are beginning to show glimpses of their future 8th grade selves. This is what I treasure and this is what, in September, I forget will ultimately come and in June, I have undoubtedly forgotten that I treasured it so completely. But this is it. Right now.
And I am going to miss it. Or lose it. Or what? I don’t know because I have never been here. None of us have. And so I am unsettled and feeling off kilter and out of whack. I want so desperately to have another day to prepare them, but I don’t know what that should look like. I want to tell them…something. I want to give them…something. And I have no idea what that should be or what that could be or how to do it effectively.
I have spent all day trying to find my footing amidst all of this, but I am…we are…standing on shifting sand. I don’t think I will fall completely, but it is hard to walk right now.