Friday, January 1, 2021

Coronavirus Remote Education, Dancing, and Life

Day 280, Friday, January 1, 2021
Happy New Year?

Yes, Happy New Year? With a Question Mark? Because I am not so sure about it all yet. 

So, I haven't written in this blog since the start of the school year. Mostly because I have been overwhelmingly busy dealing with teaching 25 Pre-K students remotely. Every day my lesson planning takes about 3 -5 hours depending on how involved I get into creating the slide show (lesson) for the day. It needs to speak, not only to my students, but to their parents/caregivers, as well, as they play an important role in the process of  being online and offline throughout the day.

With the beginning of the New Year and a week off to have a chance to breathe, I felt I was able to reflect on what has transpired and where we are right now. More importantly, I had my first dream of the New Year and I woke up out of it in a hopeful but melancholy mood. I felt it was important to record. So, here goes....

The Background...

This year I am teaching Pre-K remotely. I am teaching in all subject areas, not just dance. That said, because of my strong arts background, many of my lessons are arts based, making use of all of the arts to teach a lesson. In all my years of teaching I have never taught just one grade exclusively. 

The Dream...

In my dream, I am at a school that ranges from Pre-k to 12th grade. I am the dancing Pre-K teacher and haven't taught beyond that age group for sometime. As I walk around the school I see kids I have taught in the past in all age groups. They hang out with their friends and take on the characteristics of the age that they are, from Elementary, to Middle, to High school. The older they get, the more removed and/or  aloof they appear to me. I do not have many interactions with them despite having taught everyone of them in the past. These students are a mixture of the students I have taught over the years and are very vivid to me. So much so that I remember each of their names. 

It is a typical Coronavirus school day and everyone is masked and socially distanced. I am teaching in person, not remote, so I am able to travel around the entire school throughout the day. As I am walking to go to my next class, I come across a group of High school students, sitting at desks, 6 feet apart from each other and bored out of their minds. I know all of them by name and have taught them at some point in their school experience.

My first impulse is to just walk by and not even acknowledge them. I am just another teacher going about my business of teaching Pre-K, which is very removed from their experience.

My second impulse, which is truer and closer to my being, is to approach them and say hello. As I approach them , I can see that they are a bit uneasy, and cautious. They get that look of "who are you and why are you coming over to us". One of them starts to say, "Are you coming over to us as a Teacher or... before she can get the next word out I say, No! As an Adult to talk to you and to see how you are doing as a High Schooler through all of this.

No sooner are the words out of my mouth that the entire demeanor of the group changes. They approach me, they ask me, "How are you doing, Mr. J?" "What's happening?" How much they miss not having me as their teacher. We hug, or fist bump, or slap each other on the shoulder, forgetting all COVID 19 social protocols. They become more or less like little kids again remembering all the fun times we had in dance classes.

I WAKE UP! Tearing, Longing, Sadly Joyous! I tried to go back to sleep but I couldn't. I knew I had to get up and write it down. It kept playing on my mind as my first dream of the New Year and maybe a sign of what is to come.

So I am wishing everyone a New Year in which all that you dream, and all that you hope for, becomes a reality. That we reconnect again with those that are closest to us. That by taking the first step or I guess I should say our "Second Impulse" we can cause a change in others.
That this year will be a Safer and Truer year than the one we are leaving behind.

I have no delusions that it may get even worse before it gets better, but seeing it through Truer eyes gives us the ability to hope and dream of what is really possible and what we still need to do to make those hopes and dreams a reality.

So here is to a "Truer New Year"