A week ago, one year later

A year ago, exactly one week after my school shut down because of COVID-19, I wrote a blogpost. It attempted to capture “regular” moments from the week leading up to what resulted in schools closing down for the year. The moments were small, innocent, and utterly unspectacular; they were clueless as to what was about to happen only days later. After a year of remote learning, so much has changed. Similar to what I did last March, I wanted to reflect on the past week to see how.

A week ago, my student AP organized and led a peer tutoring session from 4-5p. It was really something when she shared the screenshot of who attended with me. My students don’t attend my office hours, so supporting students so that they can support themselves has been a goal for a little while.

A week ago, I developed two new virtual handshakes with students. One was with RV and based on the Anime character Bokuto (part 1: Hey Hey Hey, Part 2: Hey Hey Hey). The other was with MB and based on Harry Potter (Part 1: Expecto, Part 2: Patronum).

A week ago, I moved my hodgepodge stack of books and puzzle boxes — which I place my laptop on when I teach (standing) — to a new area of my small bedroom so that I wouldn’t need to dismantle it every time I want to get into bed.

A week ago, NA made my day when she showed our class a unique cutting utensil used by her family. It was like a knife, but in the shape of a crescent moon.

A week ago, I met with colleagues on Zoom after school to discussion how compassion is showing up in our teaching. It’s an ongoing project. At this meeting, we each shared something compassionate we saw in one another that may help us better reach our students.

A week ago, I met my co-generative dialogue met for the 16th time this year. We discussed the possibility of allowing some students to leave (or not attend) class once a week for independent study. Meeting with them this year has been a transformative experience for me and my practice.

A week ago, I asked my students to complete a form soliciting ideas for playful, 5-minute debates that we could have in class (e.g. which flavor of gatorade is best?). I’m also interested in collecting some data for some potential statistics lessons.

A week ago, a bunch of teachers from my school gathered after school to discuss chapters 10-14 of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. We’ve been meeting every other Wednesday to discuss a book or podcast since last summer. I look forward to these professional dialogues, their mood-lifters and thought-provokers.

A week ago, I still hadn’t given an exam in remote learning. Exams on Zoom have always seemed unrealistic and unnecessary. Leaning into the uncertainty that circles assessment these days is more my style.

A week ago, in a private chat my colleague BD and I acknowledged just how much we can’t wait to shoot around in the gym when we get to school. I asked him maybe we could do it on Saturday mornings this spring.

A week ago, MM, who for weeks had been mourning the deaths of two close family members, caught me in a breakout room and said that he was finally starting to feel better. He had found closure. I had excused most of his work up to this point. He was thankful…and ready.

A week ago, I met with the Future Educator’s Club after school. It was only three students, and has been the same three students for months, but they still wanted to meet. I applauded them and we made plans to have guest speakers at the next few sessions. If I’m honest, I’ve been disappointed in my ability to find direction and recruit members for the club.

A week ago, I recorded the 15th episode of the “staff podcast” that I started with a colleague on a limb in September. It consists of informal conversations with staff members at our school. We just get together, hit record, and talk. In a lonely school year, the podcast has been therapeutic. I’ve really enjoyed our conversations.

A week ago, I learned that schools were opening back up on March 22. After reopening in September for a couple of months, we have been closed since November.

A week ago, I signed up to get my vaccine. It was a symbol of hope that I will soon be waking up from this nightmare of a year.


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