Thursday, March 26, 2020

Finding the Bright Spots

Yesterday I had a Zoom call with each of my classes. It was not mandatory, of course, because not all of them have easy access to the online world. Also, many of them have parents working from home. I presume they also might have calls they need to be on or things they need to do. That being said, it was so good to see the kids I could. 

In each class roughly half of the students came in. I taught them the basics of Zoom (mute your device, the chat on the side, etc.) They shared what they’ve been writing. We talked about our current read aloud that I’ve been recording for them on Flipgrid. I told them I missed them. 

A friend asked which week so far of staying home have I preferred, Spring Break or this version of school. Without a doubt it would be this week. Last week I had a lot of time on my hands. I immersed myself in all things COVID-19. I read, and freaked out, and read some more. It was not good for my mental health.

Things are worse in the United States and across the globe this week for sure. My anxiety is still present. However, I’m distancing myself from the reports as much as possible. I know it’s bad. I know that the numbers are getting worse. But, and I think this is what’s key for me, I’m doing the best I can. I’m staying at home, as is my entire family. We aren’t seeing anyone, even six feet apart. When I had to go to the grocery store this week, I took all of the precautions I could and also tried to ensure we wouldn’t need anything else for two weeks. 

It’s not enough.

This virus scares me. But I have friends who are on the frontlines. They’re doctors and nurses doing the best they can to protect us. I feel like staying home, seeing everyone in a few weeks or months is the absolute least I can do here. Not everyone is able to because their work is essential, so we will be glad to help out since we can.

Each morning I still get out to walk the dogs. I live in a small town and rarely see anyone. When I do, I cross the street or they do. It’s a weird new normal. Today, as I walked, I left a message on Voxer for a friend in Pennsylvania. As I was finishing up I heard, “Mrs. S!” Stopping in the middle of the street I looked up to see one of my former students sitting on her front porch, just back from a run. I stood there, probably thirty feet apart, and talked to her for just a minute or so. After leaving her to finish my walk, I marveled at how much happier I was. I miss my class. I miss my family. I miss teaching. And if I, an introvert, feel this way, I cannot imagine how my extrovert friends are doing. 

Yesterday during my Zoom call I told my students I was starting a Padlet for them. Not required, but I wanted them to add photos of bright spots of their day. That even in the midst of this horrible time, we can find a bright spot. Each night as I get ready for bed, I write in my journal what that day was like. I always end on a bright spot. I’m sure that a month ago I wouldn’t have counted a conversation that lasted less than three minutes as a bright spot in my day. I certainly do now. Times have certainly changed.