Did we all think COVID-19 was something that wouldn’t reach us? I’m sure many of us did. And when it finally began to affect us, it happened so quickly. Before we could think it through, our schools were closed. We’ve been out for two days, TWO days, and I’m already learning so much.
On Friday morning, March 13th, we found out our school would be closed for one week. By 2:30, it was determined we’d be closed for 3 weeks plus spring break totaling one month. At the end of the day, I excused my students. Parents were waiting outside of our classroom door. Things were a little awkward. I didn’t know what to say to them. At that moment, I felt like I had let them down. Both my students and their parents.
We, as elementary teachers, are trusted to watch 20, 25, 30 students each and everyday. We are here to teach and provide a safe place for students to be watched over while their parents go to work to pay the bills and to keep our economy moving. But on this day, we opened our doors, excused our students, and took away that place for parents to send their kids while they worried about how they would work when their kids had no place to go.
It was something we had to do, and it was a very difficult decision.
So, teachers returned on Monday to make a plan. Today, Tuesday, we’re working from home. Since we’re not a 1:1 classroom, we’re sending home packets and communicating with parents through email.
And like that. . . I began to miss my students. I began to miss those stories you ask them to tell you quickly so you can get backed to the millions of other things you need to do.
This morning I emailed parents and let them know that if their kids want to tell me anything they can email me and I’ll write back. And so they did.
The first email left me in tears. Not because it was sad, but because I could picture my student telling me this story. She’d have a big smile on her face. She would tell me how the leprechaun visited her, made a mess, and left gold chocolate coins. Another student let me know he jumped in puddles on this rainy day.
Only two days in and I’ve learned how much I miss those stories that sometimes take for-ev-er to tell. I’ve learned that I want to hear them and that from now on, I’ll block out the noise and just listen.