Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge

Today, August 11th, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

One by one, the faces of my colleagues appeared on the computer screen.  While it felt so good to see each of them, I knew our reason for this Reopening Committee meeting carried true gravitas: How to spend the five days of professional development time given to us before our students arrive back in the building at the end of this month?  Several solid ideas were offered by various committee members: Time to unpack and design learning environments (many of us were forced to relocate our classrooms to accommodate decreasing student traffic); professional training on Zoom and flipped classroom approaches (in case we transition to a hybrid model); socioemotional break-out sessions; one colleague suggested a large group discussion to allow teachers to verbalize anxieties.

While these were all sound ideas, I could feel myself shifting in my seat, unable to shake the anxiety gripping my inside. The feeling was tight, uncomfortable. “But I shouldn’t I be feeling good?” I wondered to myself. “Connecticut’s numbers are very low.  Everything will be fine… right?”

Perhaps it’s the uncertainty of how viral breakouts crop up.  But if we all wear masks, it will be fine, right?  Perhaps it’s the uncertainty of how I will teach reading intervention and support the teachers in my building under these conditions. But I’ll figure that out, right? Perhaps it’s the fact my own children will be returning to school.  But they’ll be safe, right?

I have come to realize this is a situation well beyond my control; and despite personal feelings I will need to return to work, follow protocols, and do my best.  I know I am not alone in this realization, as thousands of my teaching colleagues find themselves in the same position.

But somehow. . . I’m not feeling ready. Yet.

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, twowritingteachers.org.

10 thoughts on “Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge”

  1. You have really captured the way I (and so many others) are feeling right now. I want to step up…to do the right thing. I will step up. I’ll follow the protocols. I want to feel that we can keep our students and ourselves safe. I want to see students and watch them learn and grow. But the fact is, I’m scared. Thank you for putting words to these feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As already said, you captured the feelings of many. As the beginning of the “NEW” school year approaches, I start to feel more anxious. I am hopeful that we are making the right decisions. If only schools could move everything outside, I think I would feel better!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your repetition of “…., right?” makes this piece so powerful. Your inner thoughts are my inner thoughts and the thoughts of every teacher and parent in this uncertain time. I’m glad I read it. It makes me feel less alone in my thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nobody is ready for this kind of uncertainty. We won’t be, no matter how much we plan. We can build our resilience, we can hope, we can be the best we can be under the circumstances. I wish that no matter what, you will find joy with the students and with your colleagues.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yep, to all you described. This back and forth conversation with ourselves of this, that, what, and how. There is no clarity amongst the confusion, only more confusion it seems. I long for the spinning to stop as so many do. Wishing you the best as you step out and try–as we all must do.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lanny, I am having similar thoughts and feelings as my province has mandated f2f for this school year. Parents have been given an online option for their children. Waiting for the numbers to see what I’m going to do and where I’ll be teaching in a few weeks. Stay well!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I feel for you and your colleagues, Lanny.

    I don’t want to be a negative Nellie, but I think we’re going to see a lot of things change in the next few weeks. With what’s happening in Georgia and Mississippi… well, I think we’re going to be more remote than not up here by the time school begins.

    Liked by 1 person

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