Counting on a moment with kids

I had big plans for my writing today. I figured you might be tired of my stories about my own children. I was banking on a moment with kids…from my school. A teaching moment.

My plans were thwarted by the threat of COVID-19. On Friday, all of the elementary coaches in our district were pulled to draft four weeks worth of plans in the event that our school needed to close for an extended period of time. So, I cancelled all of my work in classrooms and found myself sitting around a table, I’m sure, with a confused look on my face. The entire experience felt surreal. What exactly were we planning for? Kids would be working at home? On their own? So many questions. Not a lot of answers.

Today, I came back to school after the weekend, kind of unsure of what to expect. The school felt eerily quiet during what is usually a bustling time of kids entering the school building after the weekend. Maybe I wasn’t the only one feeling uneasy due to all of the uncertainty lingering in the halls.

Not long after kids settled into their classrooms, I found myself in the computer lab, asking our technology teacher a question about…you guessed it…long term closure plans. As we chatted, a kindergarten class began to enter. “Are you coming in for writing today?” a student asked.

“Not today,” I said, a pout on my face letting her know I was bummed.

“But can you stay here with us?” she asked, a pleading expression on her face.

“I’ll be in tomorrow…”I replied. “I hope,” I added to myself.

Our coaching team had plans to come together mid-morning to finish our work from Friday. I thought I’d have enough time to sneak into another kindergarten class for our scheduled writing work. As I entered the classroom, I realized the kids weren’t writing yet and the mini lesson hadn’t begun. “Are you here to work on because, and, and also,” a student asked as she waited for the rest of her friends to transition to the rug. We had worked together in a small group last week to think about how we can use these three words to add even more to our opinion writing. It was really exciting work and the kids were eager to share how they were using their words in all of their pieces.

“I don’t know if we will get to and, also, and because today,” I said, my eyes on the clock. “Hopefully.”

Hopefully…I can squeeze in some moments with kids tomorrow, not just for inspiration for my daily slice of life, but because these moments ground me. The words from the students today told me that regular routines and structures ground them as well. I’ll be happy when there is a bit more certainty to our days and less distractions from the things that matter most.

13 thoughts on “Counting on a moment with kids

  1. Oh – yes! You nailed it with that last paragraph, that last line! The distraction from what matters most is what is making this all so bizarre! You put some of what I’ve been feeling and trying to digest into words. That “kid slice” will come…it will…

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    1. There is nothing like the joy of writing workshop in kindergarten. You should join me sometime for a small group. ALSO, they would probably love you and never want you to leave. It’s a great place to go for a pick me up.

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  2. I found myself feeling that same tug you do…between the important work with students and the other work that pulls us away from students. I often enter rooms to the same type of questions, “Are you going to read with us today?” “Can you pull me today?” I always give a hopeful reply, but my heart knows there is not enough time in the day. Thank you for sharing!

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  3. Uncertainty is difficult for us all. Your questions are spot on. How will the kids work at home? I’m so glad that you were able to carve out a moment of normalcy not only for yourself but also for those Kindergartners.

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  4. If only we were allowed to live in those brilliant, perfect moments with students- the reason for our being, rather than spending the majority of our time planning for something that we don’t understand and may not come to pass. Do not ever lose your wonder and awe for what’s really important.

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  5. This is hard. But, I am trying to use this as a chance to learn something that will take my skill set and the skill set of educators that I work with, further. This is all still hard. Thanks for writing.

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    1. This is hard! I like your perspective. I’m actually really proud of the plan we made… I just hope we don’t have to use it! But we have shown ourselves, that when obstacles come our way, we can prepare quickly and still do good work.

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