I am participating in the
All participants are sharing stories about moments in their lives, writing
every day for the month of March 2021.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for nurturing teacher-writers!
Perhaps the most elaborate part of my school's preparation for students returning to in-person learning is their new, sleek wall system of horizontal elevators. It is masterful! These connect every classroom in the school and move students just one at a time, in an efficient, clean, sterile, COVID-free way. Every staff member has been given access to the iGOTTAgo app. Here's a quick description of how it works: the teacher selects the location that they need for the student to be taken to next (for example, bathroom, art class, principal's office, even to the entrance of the school for parent pickup; all destinations are pre-programmed, to meet the unique needs of each individual classroom). With the press of a button, the sliding doors along the back wall of the classroom open almost instantaneously. The student climbs into the horizontal elevator, and they are whisked to where they need to be next. While onboard, there is special hand sanitizer and a new clean mask, ensuring COVID-free safety at their destination, as well. iGOTTAgo eliminates the need for additional staff members to help with transitions of students, and ensures that teacher and students remain at safe distance throughout the school day.
Seeing this system with my own eyes has triggered all sorts of anxious questions and concerns. I don't like that the individual elevator 'buckets' don't have any doors or enclosures, the students are each expected to sit down and still throughout the move. How will this work with preschoolers? Goodness, how will this work with a wily seventh grader? iGOTTAgo has assured my school that the sheer speed of transport fixes every student in their place, not one student got out of their seat during the program's testing of the horizontal elevators. I'm sorry, but I'm not convinced. Have they ever met [insert name of follows-different-drumbeat-child]? I'm imagining children being squished between the wall and the elevator bucket, I'm imagining the severing of limbs. You can't possibly add these concerns to a teacher's worries!
This is when I woke up.
I dream about being in the classroom all the time. I had anxiety dreams when I was teaching, and they continue now into this first year of retirement. Last night, there I was setting up a preschool classroom for in-person learning. It was time for the children to return to school, the pandemic was subsiding, we were allowing half the children to return for two days each week. I'm sure I gleaned this plan from all the news articles I read about this process, not to mention all the SOLSC blogs other teachers have written about this very transition.
What a time of stress, for everyone.
Unlike many of my dreams, in this one I was aware I was retired, I knew I wasn't the teacher. I was there to help my former colleagues. I wonder if on some subliminal level, I want to be needed like this? (I am reminded of Glenda Funk's post yesterday, about how when you ask a retired teacher for help, you are almost performing a service!)
What fascinates me about these school dreams, I am ALWAYS with a challenging student. Yes, when I was teaching this was true, and now in retirement, it continues. It is as if my mind is still trying to solve the puzzle: how to help them? what is the best approach? what are their triggers? what have I noticed to date? what is working well and I can do more of?
Throughout it all is this enormous weight of RESPONSIBILITY.
One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.
- Malala Yousafzei