I decided to write a blog to share my observations on life in the classroom over two decades. The blog didn't get very popular, or widely shared. I get it: I write too much. I'm too serious. My friends and colleagues - even my family members - are busy. And again: There are too many words here. So let me close with just this: If you liked any of these posts, please find one you would like to share, out in the world. If not, that's okay too. But more than anything else, please share everything you find - this post, or the many, many others circulating right now - that can perhaps help to convince those people in charge, those who are really faced with terrible and impossible choices, to end up with the only possible one. The only safe doorways right now, after all, are the ones that open into our own homes.
There's nothing else to call the last few days of school besides what it is: an honest-to-goodness, over-the-top shit show. And mostly, we are happy to wallow in it.
There's a rule of thumb that new teachers are supposed to follow. Simply put: Stay away from the teachers' lunchroom.
. . . I'm glad that, at least for those last few years, I let myself cheer, and jump up and down, and pose for pictures, and wear silly tee shirts, and that I wasn't pretending. Somehow, we had made it to this point, all of us: students and colleagues alike. A little shouting was in order.
How had it happened, I wondered? How had an acceptance become part of the fabric of our school culture? There are lots of answers. But I like to think that teaching students to be strong, and brave, and accepting of others is a real start.
This is the time of the year for counting down.
Lining up. Counting off. Running around. Back to center. Singing loudly on e bus. Getting lost and getting found.
Yet I am sure of this: Sometime in the future, there will be games played again, and crowds there to see them. Sometime in the future, schools will be filled with students who - for a while, at least - will remember what it was like to be in lockdown with their families and will be happy to be there. I can believe in anything. After all, I'm a Mets fan.
As we all know, teaching isn't just about academics. In fact, academics are the least of it sometimes. Our job is to raise good human beings - or, at the very least, to try. And as I think back over my years in teaching, I'm feeling pretty good about that.
Today, during the pandemic, with states beginning to reopen, including the beaches and parks of the Jersey Shore, there are many choices that need to be made. If we did it right, as teachers, we gave our former students the power - as adults - to make the right ones: to wear masks, to social distance, to stay away from large gatherings, to be very careful. At least, that's my choice.