Pandemic Journal, Day 10
I pulled the heavy metal door open and heard the familiar squeak. With a sack full of bags, I entered my empty classroom. The books, crowded together on the shelves, stared silently back at me. Where have you been? Where are the kids? they asked. They didn’t know. I felt their reproval. On the white board, the date: March 12, 2020. The last day I taught reading in this room. The dark, green markered 3/12/20 now frozen in time.
Setting down my bags, I pulled out my checklist of things I needed to gather for distance learning. Units of study, short story collections, post-its . . . this list was long. Outside the wide windows, ominous and rolling clouds threatened rain.
I have been hearing, reading that states are beginning to issue shelter-in-place orders. This may be my only chance to retrieve materials, I had thought to myself that morning. Maybe not. But better grab them while I still can.
Everywhere, signs of normalcy now felt abnormal: My daily schedule, safely inside the clear page protector, lay lonely on the round table. My chart, “What Nonfiction Readers Do Not Do,” hung on the wall. The bathroom sign-out sheet, now becoming dusty, rested near the door. All normal, now not normal.
With a deep and silent breath, I commenced the gathering.