Late last week, my colleagues and I were given the green light to go into school and pack up the kids' stuff. When we left that last Friday in March, we had no idea that we would be out for so long. The kids packed up what they were told they would need for a two-week time frame and heading out the door. Sadly, that two-week time frame ended up being the remainder of the year. And kids being kids, they want their stuff. Which is funny in itself since their stuff is textbooks and folders.... like they weren't all that excited about that stuff on March 12th!!
Our admin is very conscientious about following the CDC guidelines and adhering to the rules of social distancing. We were emailed a sign-up genius, with specific instructions on the number of people allowed in each room and to ensure that we were not within 40 feet of another classroom. Being the rule follower that I am, I changed my sign up many times to ensure that the new person that signed up wasn't too close. My day was Monday.
It was such an eerie feeling to be in the school with only 7 other teachers. Now granted, a few of those teachers are some of my favorite people on the planet and good friends of mine. It was so hard not to give them a hug hello, to maintain my distance, and to not run down to their classrooms to chat. I settled for very far apart brief hallway chats, a few texts back and forth and a quick see you later when we were done. It was just not the same.
The whole thing is not the same. The kids should be there packing up their belongings. The noise should be loud and silly and mixed with the occasional, "Oh, that's where that is" or "Mrs. Garrison, I found that Scholastic I was supposed to turn in!" Instead, it was quiet and calm and sad. (Although, I did find lots of work that should have been turned in a LONG time ago!) It was just another way to show me how much I miss the kids, no one got into teaching to be alone in the classroom.
I hope that when we come out on the other side of this madness, we remember all of these feelings. I hope that we do not get so caught up in all that we have to do, how far behind they will inevitably be or become irritated by them saying our names a million times in a school day. I hope that we remember that empty classroom pack up, the loneliness we felt, and the desire to see our kids and give them one more hug or high five. I know I will remember!