I’m quite sure this is one of the longest chunks of time I’ve gone between blog posts in over 11 years since starting this blog.
It’s been over a year since I last logged in and recorded thoughts for the world to see. Not that many actually do pay much attention to this little old blog space any more. Inspired by my children (now both very grown-up, young men, really) and my students (currently grade 5-7 students and, for the most part, very tech-savvy), I’ve often thought about shifting my online professional space into something newer. Perhaps a YouTube channel? Or a podcast? Both are surprisingly appealing to me. The thing is, shifting into a whole new online professional space would take time and, as I’ve written about before, I’ve made changes about how I spend my time online. Committing to learning and establishing a whole new space just doesn’t have a place in my home life right now. To be honest, I rarely have time to maintain this space. Growing a new branch on my digital identity tree during my time at home doesn’t seem to make sense at the moment.
That said, there are, actually, a bunch of new branches on my digital identity tree but they’ve grown while I’ve been at work. The amount of learning I continue to experience since moving and starting a new job in a blended learning program is considerable. I learn every day from either my amazing students, their equally-amazing families, my fantastic colleagues or my inspiring admin. My dad, once again, was right in saying that making a change at the ~20 year mark of a teaching career would be a good thing. It’s quite bizarre to think about. It’s like I’ve been a brand new teacher for the past few years (because I have) but with ~20 years of prior experience. Weird.
The reason for my online rambling tonight is actually connected to how crazy the world is at the moment. A global pandemic. And, important to note, the first global pandemic with the internet and social media which are, of course, hugely influential to how people are behaving towards the crisis in both positive and negative ways.
Because of the chaos, and because I’m a mom self-isolating at home with my family (a.k.a. positive role model), I’ve been working hard not to devote too much energy to things beyond my control in the time that COVID-19 has taken over the world. I certainly have enough to occupy me day to day. But as the calendar moved past the spring break halfway point last night, my thinking moved into wondering about work next week. Surprisingly, this is no different from any other spring break; I always take the first half of the break to relax and enjoy some downtime, whereas the second half of spring break has always included a bit of school work, whether it be planning, reading or marking.
As my head started to think about next week, I at first felt very ungrounded and anxious. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around any thoughts without descending into a not-so-positive ‘what if’ spiral. But then I had a few good conversations with family members and that changed my perspective. With their support, my brain was able to change gears and now I’ve shifted to keeping my mind open. I can imagine all sorts of ways to teach and learn in the current global situation and as much as I’d like to start putting some of that imagining into action, I also know that there are many, many people with different roles working tirelessly through the decision making process to decide what next week will actually look like based on all sorts of information that a) changes every day, and that b) I don’t have. And I’m not privy to any of that, which is okay. I don’t need to know any of that because that’s not part of my job.
My job next week will be to take whatever direction is given and then do what every teacher sets out to do each day we go to work: help kids. That’s the essence of being a teacher. Help kids to learn _________ (insert curriculum-specific language here), help kids to navigate friendship or peer conflict, help kids to think, help kids to question, help kids wash a paintbrush properly, help kids to find the right book to read, help kids to open a stuck thermos at lunch…the list goes on and on. In almost any situation, however dire, teachers are there to help kids. And in this situation, I’m pretty sure the kids are going to need all the help they can get.
I hope I can help them in the way they need to be helped in such a strange set of circumstances. I’m glad that my digital identity tree has lots of branches for me to climb on and access in the coming weeks. I think I’m going to need them. We all are.
Thanks for reading. I hope you are safe, healthy and well. Take good care.