We were juggling so much in August, trying to get the school year going amidst all the craziness. We wanted to get as many children into the school as we could, but under the guidelines, there was no way that was going to happen. The older children could handle online learning, they said. They reconfigured every space in the building to bring them in, some all day, some half day, some every other week, some only on Friday. Masking, hand washing, distancing, cohorts, meetings, hybrid models, committees, task forces, testing, and more meetings. I am not there. I have not been there, and I am not going to be there any time soon, but my heart is there. Always there. This is my life’s work, and I need to do my work, so I took it on the road.
It took some crazysauce determination to develop the Distance Learning Program for the school, but there were families who could not do the in person thing, so we needed to innovate. I had already been toying with the idea of a type of free education learning hub, thinking that no one would ever get back into any school. That idea morphed into an online setup offering synchronous lessons taught weekday mornings by a team of experts, who, quite frankly, would have otherwise been out of a job. I can assure you that management is not my forte, but I do have a lot of experience in making something out of nothing, and I am always up for a challenge, so what can we do, but to try something new. OK, those are Jefferson Airplane lyrics, but we did create a team, and here we are heading into our 9th week of the program. The learning is happening, the kids are joyful and connected, the barrage of emails has subsided, and our team is cohesive and thriving,
Math class didn’t get going until almost the end of September. There are twelve students from four different classrooms, all 6th graders, and three of them absolutely new to the school, so we have never met. We do not have a classroom and we do have not materials, but we have Zoom, and we have each other. We work with Google Classroom, Jamboard and Open Up Resources. I have made a boatload of mistakes, but I am here, and students are showing up, and the math is happening. I am feeling very grateful.