This week I am grateful for my students. I teach fourth and fifth grade as I’ve mentioned many times before and this had all the makings of a very difficult and very complicated and very frustrating, very stressful school year. And I was pretty cynical in August of 2020. I was relatively certain it was gonna be terrible for everybody. I was ready to do what we had to do to stay safe. But that didn’t mean I was going to enjoy the year. I thought my kids would hate their masks. I thought my kids would hate staying in their seats longer than they used to. I thought my kids would hate not learning in groups like they used to. I thought every day it was gonna be this awful fight just to get through. But as it turns out, I was just reminded of how resilient kids can be and how awesome they can be. And surely we’re all going through this collectively, which almost makes this class perhaps more special than many other classes I’ve taught. Most of the time I have not taught a class while going through a pandemic in my life. So it’s been a struggle in many degrees, but it blows my mind every week how well my kids have handled things, and how optimistic they’ve been, and just what pros they’ve been. Sometimes I hear parents speaking for children, speaking of how they can’t stand another day wearing masks, or not being able to high-five their friends. My class and I collectively agree that we can’t wait for the day where we never have to wear a mask again, when we can take the plastic barriers off our desks and emphatically throw them into the trash or recycle, and when we can high five for real again. We all miss that, but on the same hand, we’re not gonna sit here and just mope in the meantime until we get back to it.
What almost everyone’s done is just — my kids have just gone on with life and they’ve adjusted to the way things are. You can still smile at kids, and you can still read smiles. We’ve had to change we’ve had to adjust, but you find this equilibrium where things are anything but normal but it feels normal. I can still give a nod to — a nod of information to a kid, or give a kid a smile, like an understanding — like yeah, I see — I can see where you’re coming from on this. It’s just now you read the eyes and you can do that. It works. You can still give a kid high five but it’s an air high five and it feels special, like it’s its own little thing, like a pretend high-five. And it’s a bummer that you can’t give a real high five, but on the same hand, it’s still cool. And I’m just so pumped about this class.