I have a headache, I haven’t slept much in the last month and I don’t know how to write this blog so that it isn’t just a whining rant. I just reread my first attempt and it was so whiny that it made me cringe.
I hate whining, and I hate it even more when I am the one doing it. Life is too short to wallow in misery. I just have to accept that I have no control and everything will be fine.
The problem is that I can’t! My job is to take life and break it up into bite sized pieces and feed them to my students (and my children) so that they can have some help making sense of life.
How do I make sense for them, when none of it makes sense to me?
As I spend my days contacting the families of my students, making schedules and trying to prepare my classroom for social distance learning, I doubt myself every step of the way. To every phone call and reassuring email I send out about the upcoming upheaval, I desperately want to add that everything is subject to sudden and inexplicable change without notice (or logic).
Maybe it is a bit of ego, but I want the families I work with to know that I am not responsible for the twists and turns in this ride through the school year. I might be driving the bus, but someone else has taken the steering wheel.
Personally, I am a huge fan of logic. If logic were a rock band, I would have all of their albums, and t-shirts and be in the front row at every concert. Logic fills me with a sense of peace and comfort.
Now, I understand that we can’t always have logic, as emotional based beings, sometimes feelings rule the day. Feelings are important, even crucial to building community and fostering healthy relationships.
But all of that touchy feely stuff aside, running a fucking educational system needs a healthy dose of logic!
Right now, every school and division in the province of Manitoba is scrambling around trying to figure out their own interpretation of the vague directives (in draft form) put forth by the government.
Basically the government has said: Schools are not open, but some sort of learning should happen in schools starting June 1. Teachers have to be there. Maybe a sprinkling of students. Figure out what this looks like and get back to us and we’ll see if we like what you have to say.
The absence of leadership (or any kind of clear direction) model of governing doesn’t work well, especially for a system as complex as the one that is supposed to support and educate our children.
Oh right, I forgot, I am trying to not rant.
My head hurts because my brain has been flinging itself around my skull trying to make sense of what I am supposed to be doing in June.
My heart hurts because I want to do it right and find a way to make it useful and even beneficial for my students. It also hurts because of the complete and utter disrespect that the government has shown for children and families. Parents all over the province are being asked to go back to work, but somehow no one is talking about where all the children are supposed to go.
I can let these things drive me crazy, or I can slow down, breathe and stop trying to have all of the answers.
I don’t know anything, I can’t predict what will come next, I can’t make things better.
I also can’t keep wallowing in uncertainty and growing misery. I need a new perspective.
Even as I write this, I feel how addictive it is to be mad and righteous. It is so easy to feel hard done by, so easy to just focus on what sucks.
If I let myself, I can feel a little bubbling well of happiness buried under all of the fear and uncertainty. Starting next week, I won't just be a glorified workbook anymore, starting next week, I’ll start to be a teacher again.
I’m excited to see my students in real life (in small groups and 2 metres away). I’m excited that we get to build our versions of Roz (the main character from the book the Wild Robot) and I’m thankful that it is still relevant since I have been reading them the sequel on Seesaw.
Instead of being an empty, hollow cave, my classroom is about to become a place of life and learning again. Maybe it isn’t perfect, but it’s better than not connecting at all. We get to wrap up the year, we get to have some kind of closure.
As we move through each phase of our global Coronavirus journey, maybe there is no room for knowing. Maybe this is the time to embrace uncertainty (even if it’s half-hearted and awkward).Instead of having the answers, we can explore the questions. I think if we let ourselves, we can always find the place where the light is leaking in. There is always space for a little bit of gratitude and if we can make it there, a wellspring of joy is never too far away.