As I start to see signs of spring and the first week of sunny and warm weather in Pennsylvania in a long while, I can’t help but think back a year ago to what was happening during this time.
I had put together a show of student artwork at State Representative McCarter’s office.
I was planning for the school Art show in May.
I accepted a full-time position teaching Art (I had wished on for twelve years!)
I was focused on the move, the new school, and the excitement of impending change.
I went bowling with family and friends.
I saw my niece perform in her first high school play.
ALL these things, and the world was beginning to shift into panic mode. Not thinking how so much of my life and good fortune that I had taken for granted, it all stopped and went dark.
Everything started to lose focus and become very uncertain. The feeling of dread, sadness, and loss of normality was at times too much to process.
I felt that if I could keep busy, channel my efforts to hopefully useful endeavors, and try to help others cope, that would be a start.
So I tried with varying success all those things that we teachers (and parents!) do to keep busy.
I started with making a few videos (with not so nice camera angles!)
I researched, compiled, collected, and reached out to other teachers, not knowing what the end point would be.
I discovered what assignments may translate well into this remote world that we were thrust into.
I cooked, and baked and cooked some more.
I ran the dishwasher, again and again and AGAIN.
I walked without no real direction or destination.
After a year of these things, I can confidently say that I am not a YouTube star. I don’t enjoy the sound of my voice, and probably the sight of myself on camera even less. I tried many times, with all the botched attempts, to reach people, as if not, the isolation would certainly swallow me whole. My family, my "unit", kept me going. We did and made things we never have before, and it was an adventure. The same can be said for my school "family"... the students and teachers kept me smiling and going.
We are all riding the same wave and figuring this out together... going from remote teaching at the start of the year, to hybrid, and back to remote; then hybrid once again, and now the prospect of “All In” on the horizon. I think as teachers (and parents) we all want to believe that we always have everything under control. Yet there is no way controlling the uncontrollable, nor predicting the future, but there quietly remains hope.
When I see a student smiling through a mask, hear the laughs on a Zoom class, or watch my students “get in the zone” in this awesome new art room, I feel the best is yet to come.
We are slowly coming out of one of the most darkest times, and I am hopeful for:
More making and creativity
And most important, being “together”
When we do approach normal, I will never forget the resilience of the students, and the teachers (and parents) that love and support them everyday ❤️