Breathe in. Breathe out. The alarm has gone off a few times; it is probably time to get up and see what the day has in store. I try to think of three things to be grateful for before I leave the comfort of my bed, but can only come up with two: the energy I have to start my day & the salad that I will bring for lunch. I am stumped for my third and so I fall back on my fall back: I am grateful for my bed.
Coffee. Facebook. SOL posts. New York Times. Syracuse.com. More coffee. A glance at Google Classroom (breaking my rule to maintain a “school free” zone). Meandering through a few other sites to read poetry, a few buddhist reflections, politics (should relegate that to the periphery, too) and, of course, my daily horoscope. I wind up back on Facebook, connecting with members of my tribe that are tethered to my life through space and time and the magic of Zuckerberg. My silent agreement with myself is that I can do this for as long as I have a warm cup of coffee. When I find myself sitting there with an empty cup, then my time is up. (Most days, I have two cups of coffee….my morning ritual’s equivalent of a snooze button.)
Starting the day, a Wednesday, I know that it will be full of adults and devoid of students. It is a gift and a curse, created to allow me time to reflect, respond to students and plan but absorbed by meetings, both scheduled and impromptu. I always have a list and I almost never complete it. The energy that comes in on the backs of students is missing on Wednesdays. Again, both a curse and a blessing.
I start with a three hour session for our district’s Lead Learners, a collection of teachers and administrators from all levels who have been meeting regularly under the guidance of a consultant, helping us to move forward with culturally responsive teaching. That is the goal. This is difficult work on so many levels, not the least of which is the need to trust and be vulnerable. This is difficult and important work.
More meetings–department and grade level and one-on-one and with counselors and without counselors and with administrators and without administrators. So many meetings. Clarifying my role, having to check to see which hat I am wearing, having to mitigate other’s expectations and my own. It is exhausting. I struggle to listen more than I speak, to allow others to find their way to their own conclusions, to be open to the possibility that my conclusions are merely pauses along the way.
Finally I am alone in my classroom, late enough in the day that I don’t anticipate another knock or chance encounter in the hallway. I want to grade. I want to plan. I want to have the energy that I was so grateful for this morning.
The sun has chased any memory of winter away, and I need to get outside. I look at my list, close my computer and walk out, earbuds in place. The music will carry me away, transport me to a non-covid world and refuel my tank. It always does. I laugh when I catch my reflection in the double doors as I exit the school. I may look like I am a middle-aged teacher walking on an early spring day, but really I am dancing on stage with Michael Franti and Spearhead. I will find my way home.