If we have learned nothing else from this fall, let’s recognize that life is not something that we can easily control and that sometimes, we just have to take it day by day.
As we plan for this unique school year, we marvel at how hard everyone is working and we reflect on how lucky we are to have such a dedicated and persistent staff and community. We feel fortunate.
At times, we wonder how we can sustain this complicated and deliberately partitioned program. We know we need to be apart and come together in smaller groupings. But we also know that this leaves us feeling fractured and searching for connections.
We can not do what we used to do. But consider that we may discover something new and unanticipated. Take for example, our ability to bring out the bikes, which have been sitting in our school yard for a few years. Suddenly, there is space and time to use them. Within just a few days, more than one child has already mastered the art of cycling.
The small groups in school along with the break out group sessions at home are all opportunities for discovery. Amidst our worry, let’s work on celebrating that discovery and honoring it together.
A vignette: Each day kindergarten and some of the first grade classes start their lunch period in the ballfield while the other first grades eat in the big yard with the second grade. Waiting in the ball field for the children to arrive, we notice something strange. First comes Matt with a small crew of five year olds, then Doug is there with his class. Next there is Adel leading his cohort, followed by Kodjo and Musa bringing another 12 kindergarten children. A moment later, Armando arrives with his group of first graders and lastly, Celso shows up with more six year olds. Here is a powerful moment: all these five and six year olds are spending their day with male role models.
Another observation: The partitioned structure and social distancing has created the need for small groups. The A and B and C model has led to some of our students spending the day and being on Zoom with educational assistants while their classroom teachers teach them and others remotely or in the building. Suddenly, the trusted adult is not just the classroom teacher but her support colleagues. The hierarchy disappears and the child sees that educators are not only white women, but people of many different backgrounds, cultures, languages and experiences. There is incredible power in this lesson. Power that gives hope for the future.
We can’t stop missing that which we have lost, but we can try to notice and celebrate that which we have gained. We can not eliminate the worry and anxiety that swirls around us, permeating our teaching, our Zoom rooms, our classrooms, our families and our weekends. All we can do is take it one day at a time, while looking for the little things in life that teach us more than we will ever know.
All for now,
Anna and Diane and Malika
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