“Dad has led the Calkins tribe with infectious enthusiasm. I will never forget the last sail with him one summer. The lake sparkled, glistening in that late afternoon glow. As the boat heeled, the water splashing into our faces, I asked if he was sad over the fact this would be the last sail of the summer. Dad told me, “Oh, no. I’m not sad about it. I don’t just like my work. I love it. I love it.” Dad taught all 9 of us kids that there is no greater joy in life than to work hard with people you love on a cause you believe in.”
This was part of Lucy Calkin’s tribute to her father who passed away a few weeks ago. I copied this paragraph and plopped it here, then, knowing I would write about this. I just wasn’t sure when.
This coming Saturday, I had planned to travel to NYC for the TCRWP Saturday Reunion. I rely on this event twice a year gathering to refill my bucket. When word came a little over a week ago that the institute would be cancelled, I was crushed. If there was ever a time for a refill…
Luckily, today, Lucy Calkins and her team offered a Webinar and it gave me the glimmer of hope I know I needed….that so many of us needed.
I love my job. I love working with teachers and kids. I love dreaming up solutions to obstacles. This isn’t an obstacle I would have signed up for. I know none of us would. Faced with the challenge of creating distance learning for kids, k-5, has me losing sleep at night. My days are usually filled with endless possibilities for growing. I’ve had trouble seeing the possibility with this new set of challenges we face. I worry about the tasks we are asking kids to do. It feels like busy work on top of all the challenges I know families are facing right now. I know my own kids’ teachers are trying, but I want more for my kids than apps and worksheets. I want more for all kids.
Lucy and her team echoed what I have been feeling and for that I am grateful. Thousands of people from all over the world logged in for the webinar. “The whole world is here with us. That’s a statement of how adrift we feel. How much we need each other.” She was speaking to me and so many others. We are not alone.
Lucy urged us to rethink what it means to teach. She talked of Sara Ahmed’s idea about going with the curriculum that the world hands you. Right now the world is throwing a lot our way. We get to decide how we respond. We can teach kids to make sense of this chaotic time through reading and writing.
The part that resonated with me most was when Lucy said:
“We are worried about overwhelming families. It would be easy to lower expectations. Remember that kids need meaning, community, and big and important projects. Think about what gives us energy…when work is big and important…Let’s lean on each other and be ambitious-to make the most of this difficult and challenging time.”
We have big and important work to do and I once again feel ready to do my best….because I love my job.