Union sent me a face mask.
With every breath taken within this high school classroom, I am in wonderment.
There is no teen complaining, no fighting, no laughter, no smiles, no disrespect.
There is little exchange of knowledge, discussion or concern of topics.
There is relatively no social dynamic between students.
They are “virtual learning”? It is a pandemic. We are “prepared”!
We are here in the classroom- prepared with protocols- Prepared with lessons, videos, knowledge, cameras, google this, gaggle that technology.
We have our masks, faceplates, desk shields, power spray, gloves and sanitizer.
We have our chrome books and technology to the maximum.
We are the High School Teachers of 2021/2022.
We have arrows in the hall directing our walking, signs on the walls with minimum students per class, desks separated and “air sanitized” — between classes. ( Yes- no joke) — ( I think he sprayed my lunch last week- so I went hungry)
The students are home, in bed, on phones, playing Minecraft, Tiktok, Snapchat....Facebook (Meta) is old school. A few students, of course, on target, through the madness. Survival of the fittest. I give those guys credit — self-discipline is tough in these times for all of us.
Special Education- well that is another whole story. Needs abound and the frustration, angst and upheaveal felt by students, parents administrators and teachers can only bring us closer together.
I think I have found more ways to connect with people out of the need to give than at any other time of my life. I am doing the best that I can. I feel my colleagues and administration are doing the same.
My union, well that is another story — this is not a political piece. By the way I never even got a pen after 25 years of service, but I received a face mask. NJEA Together. Wasn't that nice? Like they really cared?
If I were a high school teen, I probably would be reading a comic book and not my incredibly wonderful World History text or online pdf. color-coded version to be honest.
The Point of this Piece.
The knowledge that you are “Not Alone”. “You are Important”- This may possibly be the greatest human gift one can give.
General caring. Compassion.
Reaching. That is the lesson I learned in this time I believe.
Am I wrong? Isn’t that what we all need in all of our life experiences?
If more people — no matter what their ages, ethnic backrounds or religions felt connected to others in a positive sense, wouldn’t that be incredible?
If we realize we are all a global community — family of the universe — wouldn’t that help? Or are my thoughts just random/solitary?
The way I see it is — We All Bleed Red.
We are Connected.
We need to be kinder to one another.
No amount of global crisis, political pandering, ethnic upheaval, age discrimination, religious or sexual / gender differences will change that concept for me personally.
In my simple world today as a New Jersey Teacher…..
I long for the laughter in the halls and classrooms, the rushing and yelling of teens in the cafe. I cannot wait to see the bumping of shoulders by the lockers and high fives, hidden kissing and hugging in the hallway. I want to see their faces and smiles. I do not know how we will get there, but I hold the knowledge and hope for a better tomorrow. Teen years need to be filled with fun and frolic. There is plenty of time to take on adult challenges.
I look forward to a better day for all of us.
A realization of some sort of unity. That is what I want to teach above all during this time.
There is so much chaos. It is infecting every home. Everywhere.
The toxic ramifications permeate each family. Let us just be aware of that fact.
Let us just come together in kindness. It may really be that simple.
- January 2022- Hoping to be on a better track.