4.9.20 Musings of a Teacher in a Pandemic

It’s 11:39 pm on April 9th, 2020. I have been in quarantine for 27 days. We are down to our last 2 rolls of *regular* toilet paper (you’ll see why I say regular in a minute). Yesterday Cody found a bonus roll digging through his camping stuff in the garage and it was like striking gold. We took that shabby, squished and flattened tube and gave it a place of honor in our extra basket behind the seat. Cody’s order of novelty toilet paper also arrived. It’s the only we could find in stock…think tp with soduku and “I hate the Pittsburgh Steelers” on it (which I will NOT use so as not to bring shame to my paternal ancestors residing in the Steel City). Cody insisted we spend the $37 dollars because, “it’s about to be your time of the month and we can not have no tp in the house.” We also can’t find plain old chicken breasts anywhere. I have been hunting it down spear in hand for weeks to no avail.

Today was a heavy day. It rests on my tired bones like molasses, sticky and thick. Even the weather today mirrors my inner landscape, torrential downpours and heavy gusts, interspersed with glimmers of springtime sunshine, chaos and beauty swirling together in random bursts. Around 11 am I learned that PA schools would be closed for the remainder of the school year, just before I was about to jump on a Zoom call with fellow educators to help them learn some technology tricks and tips. Teachers were in tears, videos paused and muted as they processed the news. Adrenaline kept me coursing through the day as I met with more colleagues and tried to push out information about remote learning starting Monday. How to say so much succinctly to parents who didn’t sign up for this gig while juggling work or sudden unemployment.

Now as I lay here exhausted but wide awake, my own tears flow. I think of my students, those school lovers whose disappointment is audible in their cries. My students who process this crisis through their child like lens. Students whose security or sense of stability is in question. I think about chairs that won’t be filled again by those same 22 kiddos and an empty classroom filled with our things just as we left them. A lonely room that misses us and aches for our return. I remember March 13th and rushed goodbyes and uncertain hugs. I think of my own little guy, how we drove familiar roads today near his daycare teacher’s home and he declared “we can’t go to Miss Kasie’s house…Miss Kasie’s house is closed.” Then past the library, “we can’t go to the library.” Even at two, he knows, he senses something amiss. I lay here awake on the knife edge as one day turns to a another and let myself feel this day before it passes…

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