navigating uncharted spaces

More and more teachers are going back to their school buildings. I feel their anxiety. And know this new reality is on my horizon.

Saturday I walked into my classroom that this year’s group of students have yet to fill. The desks face forward. All carpets, rugs. pillows, and other items that made the space a home, have been removed. It is a shell.

One year ago the classroom was childless, but their presence could be felt. Posters on the wall, books on the shelves. Pencil cases and other personal belongings in the desks. Walking in to that empty classroom was an entirely different feeling. The stories we told, the problems we solved, the mess we made was there. The history of those kiddos filled the room.

Now I wonder how to bring this skeleton of a room to life. How can students be comfortable and safe. Can they those ideas co exist? Can we incorporate some of the good of how it used to be with some of the good from our year at home?

We’ve gone through a year of figuring things out. On line.
We knew how computers worked.
We’d used google classroom.
Transferring that knowledge to home was bumpy.
But now, students can smoothly navigate though platforms and troubleshoot problems.

Coming back to a desk in a classroom, not on your bed next to you fish;
getting up to catch a school bus, not in time push the zoom link will be a change.
For some it will be difficult not to have the comforts of home.
For others it may be a welcome break. Allowing them a separate space.
All will have to adjust to restrictions and protocols.
It will be bumpy.

But, we will learn to navigate again.
We will fill the shell with stories.
We will solve problems.
We will learn how to interact safely.
We will make a new history.

We will imagine how to learn better next school year.

Day 8 Slice of Life Challenge 2021. Read more slices here.

9 thoughts on “navigating uncharted spaces

  1. Here students are coming back, in schools, colleges and universities. So many changes but we have adjusted to life with the virus, and now we will change according to the need. I wish you and other teachers and students all the best.

  2. The things that change that empty shell into a community home, without the ‘homey’ bits is even harder. We dream of being back in the building come August. A tiny part of me wonders how we would have the gumption to start another year if that isn’t the case. And your words apply to that as well, “but, we will learn to navigate again.”

  3. Returning at the beginning of our school year felt like walking into a shell of a building. It was such a sad and drastically different return than anything I’ve ever experienced. Day by day though, I put pieces back together. The pieces do look different now, but it’s slowly coming back to life in new ways never anticipated. Having some students in person and still on-line are challenging, but it can be productive. We are muddling through it, together. We’ll be better when we emerge on the other side. I like your realistic, but hopeful approach. We will get through this!

  4. You’ve got this. The kids and you are what made it ‘home’ and that won’t change. If you are like me, you may mourn some changes more than others. This is hard. Your title for this post is perfect. It is uncharted territory!

  5. What Tim said…I do not envy any classroom teacher right now. (I’m the virtual catch-all person, watching classes dwindle to a lonely one and two, as kids return to school) Your appreciation of the heart that beats beneath every person we encounter in this journey, that keeps the hope alive. All the best.

  6. Kids are resilient, and so are teachers. Yes, things will be different, but you can get through this and create a new space for learning.

  7. You capture the anticipation that many felt in September when we returned via the hybrid model. We imagined and did. Our community reunited in pieces. Then in February, the same anticipation appeared as we returned to full in person learning (K-5). We imagined again and our community reunited as a whole. It’s far from perfect but that anticipation has been replaced with energy around teaching and learning together! All the best to you as you fill that shell! You can do it – safely – I believe in you!

  8. A shell and a skeleton, yes. That’s how I felt teaching from my classroom yesterday. One of my students, looking at the wall behind me on her screen, commented in the chat, “the classroom looks naked”. We will have only a handful of students return to the building. Most will stay online. I don’t know if it’s enough to turn the shell of the room into a community. But I filled one of the two bookshelves (nowhere near enough for my classroom library!) with books. And I set the couches into a little sitting area. I began imagining art on the walls, bean bags, notebooks, pens….. little by little, it will come together into something that doesn’t feel naked, doesn’t feel like a shell.

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