Awaiting admittance into our virtual faculty meeting recently, our new reality, had me flashing back to our old faculty meetings, the kind that took place in person. We all used to gather around the purple and blue tables in our school library, the heart of our school. Snacks were laid out on a bookshelf and tired teachers waited in line for tortilla chips, cheese and crackers, and chocolate. There was always a healthy hum of conversation, teachers chatting in the snack line and teachers huddled around tables. There were conversations between teachers that don’t often see one another, teachers on the same team reflecting on the day, and teachers who share students swapping anecdotes and updates.
Now, when we enter our virtual faculty meetings, there is an awkward silence. Teachers sitting in their own spaces, behind their screens, no room for side conversations.
I was struck with similar thoughts of missing side conversations today, during The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project’s Annual Saturday Reunion. I always look forward to this event. I was probably looking forward to it even more today, in desperate need of a refill and inspiration to carry me forward.
I was missing the ride in. There have been times teachers from our school have piled into my principal’s car to make the hour long ride into New York for the reunion. The mixed lot of teachers and the conversations that took place on the way there and then the takeaways and reflections on the way home. Other years, I’ve driven in with my coaching friends. Uninterrupted time to be together, talk shop and grow dreams.
I missed the excitement of dedicated teachers filling Riverside Church for the keynote. Hugs between friends reconnecting, chatting with strangers sitting beside you, and the exchanging of plans for the day.
Today, my kids sat and listened to Marc Brackett’s keynote, their insights not quite the same as colleagues. But, I was grateful to have company.
Then, the texts started coming in. First from my principal, then fellow coaches, teachers, and former collegues. They were missing the side conversations too. We were finding new ways to connect, share, and reflect.
On my screen I even saw some of you, fellow Slicers! How I wished I could turn and chat, say hello…”I loved your post today.”
I also saw your Tweets, sharing morsels as if we were in the same room together.
We’re making due, finding ways to connect. But days like today, I miss the temptation and opportunities for side conversations.