Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 24

Today, March 24th, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Pandemic Journal - Day 12

How will this go?

How will I do?

What will they learn

when this is through?

The quiet chimes of the iPhone alarm bring me forth from sleep.  It is 4:30 a.m. Immediately, I realize I am awakening from a restless night. Dreams filled with Google classroom, distance learning thoughts, and anxiety. My room remains pitch black, as it did when I slipped into bed the night before.  The darkness, thick in its presence, seems to symbolize how I feel. Where I am. Where we all are now.

I am really not sure.  Of a lot of things.  Like the room in which I now lie, many things are present, I know they are there.  But I cannot see them.   What could those things be? I wonder in desperation.

Someone once told me, life is a bit like driving through a dark tunnel.  Headlamps only show us perhaps 200 feet ahead.  Now, I feel as though one headlamp has been smashed out, leaving only the other.  Which is covered in debris.

As silently as possible, I don warmer clothes, fumble for my glasses, and make my way downstairs. Time for day one.


Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 29 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a former co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting writing teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

12 thoughts on “Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 24”

  1. Dear Lanny,
    The feeling you describe is so familiar. Last week the unknown was scary. You are right, go one day at a time. You’ll figure out what works and what not, and you can make adjustments along the way. The most important thing to remember is to breathe. Sending good wishes your way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Exactly! Everyone that I know that has made the shift to distance learning feels exactly this way. The fear of the unknown, accompanied by an increased workload and an overall feeling of anxiety for what lies ahead has filled the thoughts of many of us. All the advice I can offer for you as you begin is to give your self grace, take deep breaths and find something to be positive about each day. You can do it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Now, I feel as though one headlamp has been smashed out, leaving only the other. Which is covered in debris.”

    This is perfect.

    And I echo the need for grace, and patience with ourselves and technology. Our school has been at it for 8 weeks now and the learning curve has been steep, but rewarding. It’s not exactly the job we signed up for, but it’s the job we have, for now. Good luck, you’ve got this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I often use the headlight metaphor with new teachers and this seems to be a similar situation. We don’t know what will be ahead so we can only focus on each step forward. You have lots of experience and instinct, not perhaps with distance learning but with the important capital, the kids. Just reaffirm that connection, feel your way. As our superintendent responded to my blog yesterday, your courage as an educator will shine through.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve used that headlight analogy for writing, but it is so appropriate for life right now. We are struggling with how to best implement remote learning because so many students do not have reliable internet or may only have a cell phone. We also don’t want to overwhelm families. Everyone trying to strike a balance and find the best way to meet the immediate needs of students. I’m going in tomorrow to make and distribute food. We are all finding our way in the dark right now. Sending you some good vibes, Lanny!


  6. All of those feelings you described are how I feel. I wake up tired and achy. I know I’m sleeping tense again & it’s because of the unknown territory we’ve entered. We are so accustomed to being in a classroom and teaching all of our students. Interacting with them and being able to check in & help them when they need it. Now we have to rely on a screen and them to tell us “I need help.”

    I’m taking this one day at a time and thankfully this community and my team are helping me get through this time. Good luck & we can do this!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the headlight analogy. It’s so true about everything we are doing – all the parts of being human in this new reality- in addition to teaching.

    My post today was a tantrum in response to the parenting / homeschooling side of poorly planned, clearly slapped together online “stuff” for my child.

    When you care, when you’re clearly thinking about it- it’s going to show through the other side of that screen.

    Best of luck today. Please update.

    Stay well.


  8. I totally relate to your feelings. It’s scary to teach in a completely different way. I hope that it went way better than you expected! Can’t wait to read your reflection tomorrow. 🙂 Good luck!


  9. Lanny,
    I give you so much credit that in sharing your vulnerability to this new situation of digital learning. That, alone, will allow you to be successful. My son, a senior in HS, started learning from his classes online last week. This week, I read the note his anatomy teacher in which he claimed he felt like a first-year teacher (he actually has about 25 years experience)! This exclamation warmed my heart. Both my son and I have experienced digital learning before (in fact, my second master’s degree was wholly on-line). It will all be okay. I am sure your anxiety will diminish as you go forward. You Got This!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “One headlamp” is an apt metaphor for our trip down this tunnel. I was feeling okay with how things were going until today, after a trip to my library to gather supplies and an overly long virtual meeting and another overly long wait for a tech issue to be resolved. And we haven’t even moved to distance learning yet…hoping I can catch a breath before we do.
    Please post your experience from your first day! It would be nice to read a before/after.

    Liked by 1 person

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