Day 1 on the Ground #sol20
September 15, 2020
I didn’t really enter the building until last Thursday. It felt like Pompeii, covered with the dust of a volcano that spilled all over life at school as we knew it. In my home office, I could live in a completely parallel universe.
I spent two days trying to put the literacy center to rights while actually trying to put my own self right in the process. I was determined if I could put all of those books haphazardly left last spring when the world changed in their proper place, if I could release the time capsule in my today bin from March, then and only then could I get my mind going in the solutions for now.
In a little over two days, I got the books in approximately the right space. They are in their correct bins, but perhaps not with their book alike friends quite yet. This might be a metaphor for so much of today’s learning community world. The shelves are dusted. The paper files I couldn’t quite find the capacity to go through are under my desk. My personal PPE stockpiled by Mr. K over the summer is in the hassock next to that desk. My personal books are in the right bins. The Monday flowers are on my desk. It looks right.
But it doesn’t feel quite right.
My battered copy of Leading Well was propped on the white board rail. I’m sure I was reading something in it that day when everything changed. Abandoned? No. Still full of the wisdom that will lead me and hopefully inspire others. Lucy says our main goal is to learn from data of all sorts. I’ve been collecting that data over the months, weeks, and now days we’ve been changing and moving forward. Talking to teachers, hearing their plans, their hopes, their concerns. Touching the books, considering how to share them with students, which ones to use for lessons, which ones to make into video read alouds, which ones to share freely and with whom.
As Lucy says in Leading Well, now is the time for vision casting. Building agency. Creating a mantra. Thinking big picture. Using stories. Working through priorities. Creating a vision for next steps. Plan. Build learning communities. Oh, yes, that book is still going to be the heart of the work.
This morning, thank goodness, I was assigned duty out front. Finally, students face to face! Many times in my long career, I’ve had the pleasure of greeting students first thing in the morning. We were blessed with a bright sunny day and as the cars pulled up, it almost seemed like what I remembered.
Then I opened the first door. The anxiety of parents and kids came rolling out of the car like a fog. Good Morning! I said, I hope brightly. We are so happy you’re here. Let me help you find where to go.
It was hard to recognize some of them when all I could only see their eyes. It made me quickly say, I’m Mrs. Kennedy. I’ve missed you. Most came willingly continuing to trust what we’ve built.
One of the fourth graders told me, I’m nervous.
Yes, I said, it’s been a long time. We are still here, glad to see you.
Will you walk with me? he asked.
Yes I said.