I'm normally among the first to post for the SOL challenge every day, being in Australia. It's been a big week here, though, and when I landed last night there was nothing left in me, not even writing.
I was mostly alone in an empty classroom yesterday, in a school with just 12 teachers and 14 kids, a ghost town by normal standards. We teachers are essential workers and so we continue to work, our only students the children of other essential workers. We checked in as a staff on a screen, taking in the latest information and knowing it could change by the end of the day. It's the new normal, and now we have a vague idea of what and how we will continue to work, there's a little glowing spark of excitement starting to light up deep inside me somewhere. Teachers are an incredible, committed, caring bunch of people. The day was spent planning, packing up materials, sharing ideas, meeting virtually, all driven to beat this challenge, reaching for solutions to challenges we never anticipated. It's exhausting. It's exhilarating, too.
From my school, there was a gauntlet of stops to run on the way home. Working-from-home dad sent a list of things to grab at the supermarket (seems home schooling makes for ravenous kids), a prescription to get from the chemist, and packs of learning materials to collect from the kids' school. Their teachers are waiting out the front when I pull up, all 2 metres apart managing the drive-through line. They look as desperately tired as I feel, but smile as they ask about the kids and send them a message, on top of the video messages they've sent every day since shut down.
I trudge back and forth between the car and the door, leaving shopping, books, school supplies. Our kids are out back, running an obstacle course they've built today, giving me time to change clothes and wash my hands for the umpteenth time today. I soon get the rundown of the day's learning, the chores that have been done, the bike ride adventure with Dad. We check in on Grandma, stuck at home but more than managing, as always. We eat, we negotiate a movie and we settle down.
And I exhale, finally, grateful for the 15 hours I still have to post my writing.