Meetings all day long.
Weary and tired tonight.
Nothing much to write.
“You sound different.”
“What do you mean I sound different?” I said as I descended from my office classroom. I had just finished doing my daily Morning Meeting over Zoom with my 2nd graders and it was time for a late morning snack so I ventured to the kitchen.
“When you’re teaching, you sound different. Your tone of voice, it’s different. You’re just . . . different.”
It seemed like my husband thought a stranger had emerged from our upstairs office but then I realized he’s never really seen me at work. He’s never really seen what I do day in and day out when I’m with my kids. He sees all the preparations. The hours of making plans, creating materials, reading children’s literature and this year pouring over my Units of Study in Phonics as I learn yet another new teaching resource, but he’s never really seen me carry out all those plans.
I’m an introvert by nature but elementary teachers, especially in the primary grades, need to have the qualities of an extrovert. So, every day as my kids stream into my classroom I transform into Teacher Beth. Teacher Beth loves to get silly at Morning Meeting, do read alouds and get kids excited about books, use my mascot Gus to help me teach phonics, get over the top excited when someone shares a math strategy, or embellish a personal narrative to help make a teaching point.
“My job is a little like acting, you know, putting on a performance.” I explained. “I have to act different when I’m in front of a group of kids.”
“I guess I never really thought about it.” he said.
“As an introvert I really do need to become someone different in my classroom. It takes a lot of energy for me to do that.” I shared.
“That explains why you’re exhausted when you get home.” he concluded.
“Exactly!” I replied.
There’s so much we’re learning through this strange experience of social distancing and quarantine. I’m sure we’re all seeing a side of those we live with we’re not used to seeing. I hope my husband likes Teacher Beth, I’m not sure I can tell yet. Maybe once he gets over the shock I’ll know.
I had my first Morning Meeting over Zoom today. It was so great to see all my kids. We shared about our pets and the things we’re thankful for but we also shared what we are sad about. I think everyone said they were sad about not being at school with their friends. I can’t wait for the day we gather in a circle on the carpet in Room 181. Maybe, just maybe our carpet will team with laughter and high fives again.
It was great to reconnect with almost all my students today. Only a few didn’t join us. We’re Zooming again tomorrow and I’m hoping they will all be there. We learned this afternoon that our state has closed schools through April 6th. I am so hoping I get to go back to my classroom on April 7th and ready it for my students to arrive on April 9th. While other states have completely closed schools for the rest of the year, I appreciate that my state is taking it two weeks at a time. Maybe, just maybe we will gather together again before this school year ends.
After our meeting I spent my day in front of my computer learning more about how to provide remote learning. I’m really hoping I won’t need to put all this knowledge to use but I am learning a lot. I’m sure you are too whether you’re a teacher, a parent, a grandparent or a caregiver supporting a child through remote learning, we’re all learning a lot. I think we’re learning to appreciate the time we spend with others face to face. Maybe when this is all over we won’t see so many people glued to devices anymore. Maybe this experience will leave us craving human interaction. Maybe, just maybe we will talk to each other again.