I, Joy Kirr, am a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. My 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of my learning experiences... Want to have me speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is my PORTFOLIO.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Day 1 - Ambiguity

I'm veering off of my "learning" posts for this one and probably many future posts while my teaching world is in limbo. I'll be using this blog at times to document what I see, hear, and feel.

School is closed as of this weekend. One week prior to Spring Break for us. I dreamt of possible e-learning plans last night, even though the message we received yesterday was to relax.

Our district is still paying us (all of us) on these upcoming e-learning days. People at the district office have made plans for the students for the first five e-learning days. Staff may come to work Monday to figure out next steps, or they may stay home with their children or... It was a very calm vibe from our administration yesterday. Many questions I'd had were answered, and I felt better knowing we can breathe and not jump the gun on any plans or worries.

The kids handled the day well, too, finishing their IAR testing (and science testing for 8th grade), and playing Scattegories. The one class I had two periods yesterday actually wrote/journaled for me/themselves. The prompt: Start writing "I'm thinking..." When the music changes, start again with, "I'm hoping..." I played "Shindler's List" music for three minutes, and then three minutes of the "Forrest Gump" theme song for the second half. Some shared bits aloud, and some shared with their table mates. We were also paid a visit by the new therapy dog that will be coming to our school on Fridays. It was a good day overall.

Many school districts are not waiting for federal guidance. They're taking matters into their own hands. I felt calm about not having to plan anything right away, and calm knowing the work will be very different from typical curriculum. Still... a gnawing feeling was growing in my gut. I'd pushed aside the news I'd heard and seen, not being able to deal with it just yet. I had other things regarding school and students I had to get through first. Now I have to deal with it.

I don't know when my 67-year-old husband will stop going out to eat, but I have a feeling it's going to be soon. We went to Five Guys, brought it home, washed our hands, and ate. We're heading out tonight with the family to celebrate my dad's 85th birthday. I wonder when he'll stop going out to eat.

This morning we went to Meijer for our regularly-scheduled weekly shopping. We weren't going to go crazy buying tons of food and supplies; we only have so many bags we bring every week. We don't have children in the house; it's just the two of us, and we live pretty simply / modestly.

The lot was packed. I saw a couple wearing latex gloves. One person was wearing a mask. I climbed a shelf for apple juice. I crouched on the floor for eggs. I was able to buy chocolate cake and frosting for my dad's birthday cake today.

The butcher counter:

The pasta aisle (there's still some lasagna):

No more Dan Active for me. It's been a staple in my life since Mom had cancer, and it really keeps me healthy. I'll be sure to keep trying to eat healthy.

The eggs. After I crouched down for mine, I moved the other ones I could reach forward for others:

The toilet paper and every-other-kind-of-paper-product-you-can-think-of aisle:

Our cart, $200-something dollars later:

I noticed the fear creeping into my gut.
I noticed there were still steaks (I wanted to get some for my dad's birthday), even if there was no chicken (at first - some came as we were in the aisle).
I noticed people's faces considering what to get, remembering something they should get, and the disappointment when they got to an empty section.
I noticed the socializing my husband keep up with other shoppers.

I did NOT notice people running frantically. I did NOT notice people yelling or being mean. I did NOT notice people fighting over food or supplies.

I had to let some tears fall (it's my nature to cry when happy, sad, scared...), and then reined them back in to face this like my husband is - keep moving on. We're not desperate. We can be sociable and help others feel better. We have food. We even have some toilet paper. We have each other. We have our families. We have our health.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Joy, here I have been so quietly writing my own posts all month, not realizing so much was going on on your blog. And in your life! This is so poignant and the pictures add thousands of words. I didn't realize. "Unprecedented Times" documentation, to be sure. These are important words you wrote. Thank you for sharing. God bless and keep you all.