How did we ever do life and teach before? Oh, that’s because it wasn’t Covidlandia teaching. Also, it was before the world turned sideways. Additionally, we were struggling already to be human in a building with young humans, teach them to read, and then go home and do our lives.
Just got off the phone with my son at 11:45 pm. It’s hard. I respect his privacy, so that’s all I’m going to say. Since he was very young he has struggled deeply with life maintenance, the drudgery of having to do all.of.the.things.humans.have.to.do.to.live. It’s exhausting.
And now, with Covid, it makes everything amplified. We all joke, sure. I’ve heard a lot of jokes and read a lot of memes saying things like, “if the ground opened in my yard and locusts created a plague in my backyard now, I’d just be like, well, it’s 2020, it’s just something else I have to deal with now.
So, how are you all doing? This is some hard shit. It’s hard for the adults x10 to the 10th power. But the children and the young adults are really hard struggling a lot. So many lost their jobs. So many don’t have health insurance. Young students are going back to school and a lot of their peers are being laissez faire about Covid. It’s not easy to do the whole “who have you been exposed to?” as a fully formed adult. Imagine being 19 and a sophomore in college and having to have that conversation with a roommate. I feel so bad for our youth.
My students are ok. They’re really excited to be in class. I started the day with a quiz with prizes…and it was too high stakes so I had to change the set up twice. I ended up giving them all a piece of candy and a mask to 6 of them. We were reviewing work from last week that we’d gone over every day multiple times. My idea of giving only one mask away on Monday is fully faulty…but I admitted to not having the best plan, and being sweet humans, they gave me grace.
We started learning about Ruby Bridges today, and they were very enthusiastic. They had asked for more history, and one specifically asked to learn about her, which was already in my plans. I started the lesson with putting pieces of blue tape on 1/3 of their desks. Then I asked them to imagine a list of privileges they’d have today because they had the tape. They were cautiously excited, while the non-tape kids were annoyed. Then I switched the roles and the non-tape kids got the imaginary list of privileges. It was a very short and hypothetical, but they got it more quickly than I expected. I said “that’s how little it makes sense to discriminate against someone because they have different colored skin.”
We moved on to learning about Ruby Bridges and what segregation is. They were quick to point out that Ruby was shouted and yelled at by white people when she walked into school, and several said “that doesn’t happen anymore.” I had to tell them that, unfortunately, yes, black people and brown and indigenous people are treated like this still. One child said, “not in the United States, though? Right?” with a hopeful look. I was honest. “Yes, this still happens in the United States.”
It was somber, but I did not try to fix anything. I just told them the facts, and let them ask questions. I said “yes, it is hard,” when they said it’s hard. We were fine. They wrote responses in our lesson (a Nearpod lesson if you’re using that app, VERY COOL and interactive), and were very engaged, even the students that struggle to focus.
I guess my take away from today is, We Can Do Hard Things. But as Glennon Doyle says “But we cannot do easy things,” like empty the dishwasher or deal with the dog’s puke or fold the clothes, or deal with other annoying life tasks. Those things are easy and somehow become harder when life is so so hard for everyone.
Hang in there, family.