I will never forget Friday, March 13th, 2020. I teach middle school at a small, rural Catholic school, and we had just had an unexpected day off due to a boiler issue. Late in the day on Thursday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer mandated all schools closed as of Monday, March 16th. Suddenly we were all faced with an undetermined amount of time off. Not only did teachers and administrators not quite know what to expect, students looked to us for answers and we had none.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. After school on that Friday, we were supposed to have an after school event for March is reading month, Prime Time Live Friday Night. Games, dinner, and prizes all cancelled. Our once full March calendar suddenly free. Now, our last Stations of the Cross is the last school memory I will have for a while.
I can’t help but think of all my 6th through 8th graders through all of this. Are they OK? How do I help make sure they are still learning? What can I do when I can’t assign any graded work as not everyone has internet access? I’ve worked my way through a crash-course on creating Google Classrooms, learning by doing.
Oh, the events! I so looked forward to so many events this spring! We had one field trip planned to Lansing in May, and I was in the process of booking another to the Michigan Science Center and the Detroit Institute of Art. We were just beginning the novel Esperanza Rising as a middle school. Oh, and the poetry unit I wanted to do. Then there were the professional development opportunities now cancelled. I looked forward to learning to become the best possible middle school teacher I can be. I am hoping that I have the same opportunities next year.
Then there are the longer-term questions. When will we return to school? What to expect when we do? When will society return to “normal’? How will things work with our seasonal family business, which is due to start Memorial Weekend? In fact, I’ve been splitting my time between trying to round up resources for my students and using this opportunity to get some business done.
Watching and observing how we have all come together as a profession (teachers are the best!), a church, a community, a state, and a country is heartwarming. Ultimately, we will all become stronger through this adversity.
I will post resources soon!