Do you ever have problems falling asleep? Usually when I go to bed, I’m ready to sleep, but sometimes, I’m not. Sometimes my brain just won’t shut off. Since I was a child, I had a trick that always worked for me. I’ve never shared this trick before. You’re the first to hear it. The first. I told myself what to dream about.
- “Think about reading in that big bookstore.”
- “Think about walking your dolly in the stroller.”
- “Think about that fun playdate that you had with your friends.”
- “Think about your birthday.”
Or, for the past 19 years, my most-used, sure-to-lead-to-a-peaceful-night’s-sleep dream was, “Think about being in the classroom. Think about teaching.” And this has been that small struggle, that’s crept up on me over the past three months, as now teaching is different. Dreaming about the classroom has me wondering …
- Will we be able to do those collaborative projects again?
- Will our eating table exist?
- Will kids be able to share supplies?
- Will the independence that we’ve fostered for years still be possible, or will there be restrictions?
- Will hugging happen?
- Will the “normal” that we knew be the same again, and if not, for how long?
School is — and for many, many years has been — my happy place. Yes, I find happiness and joy elsewhere, but I love school. Teaching is all that I’ve ever wanted to do. (I’ll let you in on another secret. I don’t even know my retirement date. Right now, I can’t imagine leaving teaching for anything else … including retirement. That day might come, but just not now.) While my teaching partner, Paula, and I have found a little wonderful online, I know that we’re both eager to get back into the classroom. To teach and connect again, as we did before. But with uncertainty about the future, daily announcements around COVID-19, a classroom that still needs to be organized for the summer, and more questions than answers, telling myself to “dream about school” doesn’t lead to the same restful sleep that it did in the past.
I shared some of my stress and wonderings in a comment on Doug Peterson‘s blog post from this morning.
Just like our child from the other day, I miss school, but maybe for now, I can dream about what it once was, and will hopefully be, again. And if things continue to change, and school next year is unlike school as we envisioned it before, I have to believe that we will make it work. Somehow. In some way. If you asked me three months ago, if kindergarten could exist online, I would have shared an emphatic, “No!” Sometimes you just never know.
A good reminder for us not to give up on kids or families. You never know. Connections are always possible, even at the most unexpected of times. A #happyteacher today. Sometimes I need to celebrate these small moments. What about you? cc @GSmith_ @moojean_seo
— 𝘼𝙫𝙞𝙫𝙖 𝘿𝙪𝙣𝙨𝙞𝙜𝙚𝙧 (@avivaloca) June 9, 2020
For now, I’ll try to remind myself that I’m fortunate to have a job doing something that I love, in a wonderful community, and with amazing kids, parents, and families. A reality check? Perhaps. A privileged statement? Likely so. But maybe an online classroom — with sharing, connecting, learning, and laughing — can also be worthy of good dreams. I certainly will remember our “COVID Crew” (thanks to the anonymous poetic educator that shared this term with me) … what about you?
I don’t know what the future will bring. But, I would suggest that the best way is to plan for the very worst. If you end up being correct, you’re good to go. If it eases off, then it’s a bonus for you.
Wishing for a return to the way things used to be and then being disappointed will do nothing but cause more frustration.
Thinking now of the worst case scenario and how to address it and then easing back seems to me to be the easiest on the mind way to go.
You’re probably right, Doug. I will admit that I’ve currently been going with the don’t-panic-try-not-to-jump-the-gun approach, but I’m not so sure that this is the best one to use. It might reduce some of my stress though … probably only temporarily. 🙂 I see a lot of upcoming discussions with Paula, especially as we begin to hear more. I wonder how others are approaching things: plan for worst case scenario, wait and see, or something in between? Thanks for the comment and the inspiration!