A week ago

A week ago, I administered an exam to my students. It focused on the leading coefficient test, rational exponents, exponential functions, radical and polynomial equations, and the Pythagorean Identity. The class averages for the exam improved across the board, except for period 7. They struggled, performing 10% worse than they did previously.

A week ago, A-S expressed their frustration over their lack of progress in Algebra 2 this year. I’ve been working closely with them since September. We spoke in the hallway. It may have seemed counterintuitive, but I admitted that I loved being deep in struggle with them. They smiled with renewed energy. I did too.

A week ago, I was overwhelmed with finishing the Preface and Introduction to the book I’m editing that features my students’ writing from this year. I had a goal of finishing both by Friday to give to a colleague at my school who is penning the Foreword. I failed by two paragraphs.

A week ago, out of frustration, I chewed out a student during class for not being their best self these last couple of months. They have had a lot going on and I apologized afterward for not being my best self at that moment. They didn’t deserve that.

A week ago, I was scrambling to plan our discussion for our book study on Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos. It was around chapter two and was the fifth “session.” I’ve had high hopes for this all year, but my lofty expectations were met with stale looks and respectful boredom from my students.

A week ago, I playfully bothered C-O about a drawing they had been working on that I sabotaged during class by inserting a huge horizontal line where the head was going to be. They were supposed to show me what they made of it, but forgot their sketchbook.

A week ago, I was looking forward to playing L-C in one-on-one basketball during open gym in the weeks ahead. I’d been attending the early morning sessions and reconnecting with my game.

A week ago, Y-P asked me whether I researched Muhammad Ali. I didn’t, but their excitement was enough for us both. I felt bad.

A week ago, we started circular motion in physics.

A week ago, I was prepping the metacognitive journals that my kids submitted. I had to remove identifying information for the peer-review. This journal was their third of the year. After giving them a once-over, they looked more polished and more thought-out than the others. I told J-C that I really appreciated the extended effort that they put into theirs.

A week ago, I exposed my students to this graph about this price gouging happening around hand-sanitizer.

A week ago, I was handing back my hand-written responses to the Friday Letters I received. The longest one was to C-I, who asked for advice on how to handle a delicate situation with a fellow teacher. I told her to be herself. That was enough.

A week ago, I had my sights set on seeing my students play in their baseball, softball, and soccer games this spring.

A week ago, I didn’t know that I probably wouldn’t see my students in person again this year.

A week ago, I wasn’t checking and rechecking the New York Times homepage 10 times a day, a sinking feeling eating me alive each time I closed my laptop or put my phone down.

A week ago, I wasn’t fretting over how to reimagine my classroom for remote learning, hoping that my students and I would stay healthy enough to even do it. I never thought that I would have messaged them on Google Classroom yesterday, saying, I will miss looking each of you in the eye because I rely heavily on the face-to-face moments that bond us each day. I will miss sharing the air with you in the coming weeks. We’ll make due. Stay tuned.

A week ago, I wasn’t wishing that I would wake up from this nightmare.

 

bp

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