Although I feel this journey began last Thursday, March 12 when Mayor Hogsett announced all schools in Indianapolis would be closing, I’m am choosing today, Monday, March 16, as day one as I chronicle this journey and try to make sense of what is happening. Many schools closed immediatlely on the next day, like my sons’ schools. Other schools did not close until today. As a school administrator, I had to work until today. My school made work packets for students to do while at home. Today, like many parents around the country, I found myself thinking about how long this would last and what I would do each day with my children.
I started the day at 4 a.m. That’s when I woke up. I made a grocery list to obtain some items I was not able to buy last week, not because someone hoarded the items; I simply forget to grab them. Then, I arrived at work around 5:30 a.m. to work in my building alone in peace. I looked around my office and grabbed three books to read at home.
After working in peace and quiet, I went shopping at Meijer. I returned home and my husband helped me unload the groceries. After I put them away, I returned to work to help print out and staple more work packets.
While I was working on the stapling the work packets, I noticed other staff members taking a lot more items home as if school wasn’t going to open again this school year. I decided not to be that extreme. Honestly, I do not have much at work that I would lose sleep over if I never saw it again. I don’t really store much personal stuff at work. I don’t know when I’ll be back in my office again, but I’m okay with not knowing. I am looking forward to working remotely from home.
Because I stayed at work until 4 p.m. on Friday to pass out our first work packet, I don’t have to help pass out work packets on Tuesday. Yes, the building did close at 1 p.m. today. The administrators that will distribute packets tomorrow had to load up the packets in their vehicles so they can distribute them from their vehicles tomorrow in the parking lot.
By 12:15, I was home with my husband and kids. My husband had planned to return to working at work tomorrow. Those plans were dashed. His boss called to tell him that beginning tomorrow, he would have to work remotely until further notice. He had to leave and go to work to pick up some technology that would help him work easier at home.
The schedule I made for my family fell to pieces. I’m an educator, so I know how to improvise. Before I did, I smashed some stale chips. We can’t waste stuff under these circumstances. As an educator, I am still getting paid. Even though I made a schedule with breaks for me to work with my children, I was so tired that I just needed a break to rest.
Tomorrow, I am checking in with all of my teachers. I am required to call each teacher I supervise every week while we are closed. I had to give them a task list to complete. I will check on those tasks and see how they are doing. I also have to keep interviewing to fill positions for next school year.
After phone calls with other adults (another procrastination after eating stale chips), I decided to readjust my plan. My sons’ school decided to take the instructional day waiver which means my sons do not have to do any work while their school is closed. Their teachers are required to provide optional activities. However, my sons constanlty tell me about topics they want to know more about which gave me an idea. I asked them to write down things they wanted to learn about. Here are their lists:
If you can’t tell, my son Jeremiah really loves science. He has loved it since preschool. He frequently checks out science books including one about the periodic table, and he has a rock encyclopedia that he reads. My other son, James, also likes science, but not as much as Jerry. He loves art and writing, too.
Elementary educators can attest to the fact that the focus in school is typically reading and math. If you are a science lover, like my boys, you don’t get your needs met at school in that area. I decided to revise my plan to allow my sons to learn about topics of interest.
Before, we did any of that today, we explored the Calm app. Educators were able to sign up for the Calm app for free earlier this school year. I did but had not used it yet. Since my sons had been in at least two loud arguments today, I thought this was the perfect time to try it out. After explaining the why and connecting it to the mindfulness work that is big in their school district, I imagined us relaxing and calming our bodies while we listed to relaxing music and words.
Instead, my sons burst into uncontrollable giggles. I pulled out a tool in my teacher took kit. I paused the activity on my phone, and reexplained the expectations. Loud giggling turned into quiet giggling. Then, I tapped my one son’s shoulder and gave him the teacher stare down hard. I was supposed to be staying calm…right? Afterwards, I asked them to reflect and rate themselves on their commitement to the activity. One rated himself a six and the other, the one who was clowing the most, rated himself an eight. My response, “Oh, really. Are you being fully honest with yourself?” I explained that we would do one activitiy from the app each day during the school closures. I pray that tomorrow will be better.
To wrap up the day, we turned to Netflix. I searched by genre and chose the Science & Nature Docs genre. We browsed, and my sons chose to watch Black Hole Apocalypse, This show was rated G. I must warn you that one scientist did explain, based on theory, that if you fell into a black hole, you would be streached thin line a noodle and distengirate into particles. That might not be g-rated for some children. We only watched the first 34 minutes because I wanted to keep a consistent bedtime which is 8:30 p.m. We will watch more tomorrow.
Day one is done. We survived. Now, I’m off to sleep to get recharged for day 2. I’ll write more tomorrow.