I was at a loss for writing ideas tonight, so I decided to see what was going on this time in 2020. In my search of The Google, my Google, I quickly found myself heading down that rabbit hole, just like Alice. A slow and steady fall with dips and turns and odd artifacts along the way. I found the bizarre collection of instructional materials that I kept throwing out in an attempt to find a connection. There was a spattering of student writing – none of it developed beyond a first draft – and encouraging, hopeful emails from me to parents and the occasional response, cheering me to keep on keepin’ on. I found lists upon lists upon lists that I had made: educational sites and links, materials to use or to find, long and short read alouds, tech support (lots and lots of tech support), writing prompts, video prompts, music prompts, cartoon prompts…lists that were just the tip of the iceberg, that giant iceberg that was the impossibly deep chasm that covid placed between me and my students. And then I found this:
High School shutting down
new instruction by june 5
Last day at MS june 19
How do you feel? Makes sense to follow…
No confirmation from state ed or district office
What is the purpose of last two weeks?
Wind it down?
HS teachers not teaching past 5th
Could be a district decision…No decision?
Sept restart…whenever we restart:
Social distancing requirements
Look at it from 3: logistically, transportation, schedule; academic expectations upon return; social & emotional well being after being out for so long
Admins deal with big; teachers teach
Thought exchange: what are the questions?
8th grade step up ….something over the summer? In person??
I don’t remember writing this and I don’t remember the context. I could have been taking notes during a meeting or I could have been rage writing –I mean, brainstorming– for my own purposes. But I can read between the lines: We didn’t know what to do. The big We. The grand We. The collective everybody in the education world and the world beyond that We. The high school versus the middle school end-of-the-year equity battle was in full swing and apparently someone thought packets could be a good idea. We had no direction from state ed or from our district administration on, well, anything. We had decisions to make about summer and decisions to make about September. There were more questions than answers and a whole lot of ellipses to fill in the spaces where words just could not be found.
There is a lot of trauma that I still have not uncovered from this time, along with the rest of humanity. I wonder if the shared trauma of Spring 2020 will just become ingrained in our DNA, shaping each generation uniquely, depending upon how they experienced it. The kids will feel this differently than the teens or the young adults, all of whom had the one constant –school– pulled out from underneath them with no warning and indefinitely. Fully fledged adults experienced a space that only they can share, often holding the care of young children in one hand and the care of older parents in the other. And seniors? The most vulnerable and the ones who had seen so much before this came along and united the world.
I don’t know the origins of this particular list, but I do know that, like with all words I try to put on a page, there is so much more that never gets out.