Outside my classroom window, they are moving dirt. This is a part of the massive –and poorly timed– capital project that is decimating our school, taking away my floors and over a quarter of the usable space in the building. I totally underestimated the psychological and physical impact of teaching on unfinished concrete floors. We all underestimated the impact of teaching in a construction zone during an interminable pandemic. I spent far too much money on footwear that might, just might, mitigate the wear and tear on my body, but I have not yet found a purchase that could ameliorate the wear and tear on all of our psyches.
But today, the construction crew is moving dirt. They are digging it up from somewhere out of my sight and filling in the accidental pond that had become home to two wayward ducks and held the promise of spring ducklings. They are drawing attention back to the construction zone that had, finally, begun to fall into the background. The workers and the dust and the yellow tape once front and center of all of our conversations had been eclipsed by the work at hand….work that even, occasionally, included education resembling the Before Times. A new road arrived while I was at lunch. A tractor used it, happily, toting who-knows-what from one place to another. The kids tried to write and conference and do workshop, but the tractor won.
So the dirt moves and the kids look out and the tractor engine roars. I know that we will one day have a beautiful new building, with moveable walls, built-in bookshelves and real live floors; I just wish that we kept the ducks around for a bit longer.