Standing in front of the rocking chair, one of my favorite places to sit and read to my students, I tape a piece of paper: "Store for Sokolowski- Room 215". When will I get to sit in my rocking chair again, in front of a group of students, holding a beloved book? The rocking chair, flexible seating couch, fun ottomans, round table....they all have to go. I don't think too much about it- just tape my signs on each one.
When my third grade team member arrives, we begin to tackle the storage closet which has become somewhat of a dumping ground. With each of us needing space to store items from our classroom that need to be removed, this was a necessary yet exhausting task. We wore our masks, to honor the rules of health and safety. It was 90 degrees and we were working hard. My face was slick with sweat- a preview of what's to come when I begin teaching in a mask in the hot days of early September.
I click the link and see that many parents are already in the meeting. My children's principal begins talking, giving a quick presentation about how school will look and feel before taking the myriad of questions we have. Yes, masks are worn by everyone at all times- except for short mask breaks. Students will sit behind plastic guards at their desk. Specials are in the classroom. Lunch is in the classroom. Recess might involve masks. She will check about air purifying systems. Yes, social and emotional needs will be addressed. I think of my children who have loved school and how school will be different in every way. Will this new way of doing school become "normal" at some point?
The air today was thick and hot, but tonight, at the ball field, there is a lovely breeze as the summer sun slowly sinks in the sky. My nephew is playing his last regular game of the summer series- the one that decides if his team goes to the playoffs. My children are with me and my mom, too, as we sit with my sister. It's early in the game, and my nephew's team is losing by 4 runs. She says it will be a lesson in losing gracefully. We talk about the changes with school and my sister says, the secret in life is to be able to adapt, to roll with the punches. And then, suddenly, they are not losing anymore- gracefully or not. My nephew's team wins the game, 23-6. Celebration is in the air, along with uncertainty.
It's Summer 2020.
Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski