Just some thoughts I felt the need to write down…
running off at the keyboard (borrowed phrase from a local sports columnist).
It is after 12 noon on Friday, May 29. I have turned in my keys, signed off on my last student grades. Because I do not have a school assignment for the fall term, I have turned in my district-issued laptop. So, you’d think “She’s no longer teaching. Summer break is all she has on her mind.”
But that denies what teachers do. We INVEST our lives in our students, We are constantly thinking about how to present the next thing, or review the last thing, so that struggling child can finally “get it.” And there’s always a struggling child.
That means that a teacher does not — and cannot — turn off like a switch. It’s more like a leaking spigot with a bad seal. During a school year I am frequently chastised for not being able to leave work AT work.
Well, anyway. So yeah, I’m going to apologize ahead of time now to all the people I will accidentally offend with “teacher talk.” The spigot has been closed, but there’s still water backed up in the line. As I have endured 7 of these “summer breaks” I can tell you it will probably disrupt my sleep for at least another week. After that, it will still manifest without my ability to stop it. Especially with the flux that Education, as an profession, is right now between COVID-19 and “traditional schooling” having to make way for “social distancing” or “distance learning” or, most likely, some combination of the two.
The weirdest moment will trigger a “I could turn that into a lesson” comment, or if not out loud, I’ll fall silent as my mind twists it around this way and that, examining the issue from all sides. Finally I’ll wake, as if from a daze, as my mind finally files it in the “maybe I can use that someday” part of my brain.
I’ll have lost the thread of some conversation or seem checked out. And I will still toss and turn at night trying to figure out how to build the future from where we are, or even if I’ll get a chance to try in another position in a system that is seemingly craving new ideas, and yet, at the same time, crushing out those who openly challenge that the status quo was unsustainable even before we entered these “pandemic times.”