Professional Daze

downloadWe had two days at school last week and have four this week. Next Monday our students arrive. Like most in our area, we plan to start school with a hybrid model and will have rotating groups of children. Group A on M/W and Group B on T/Th, with Fridays alternating. Days at home will be “Practice Days” with kids responsible for completing two hours of “engaging”, “meaningful,”  and “just-right” independent work.

Our whole district is working collaboratively to put all the pieces together and I feel grateful again and again for where I live and work. However, after yesterday’s curriculum work I was utterly exhausted and overwhelmed.

Professional Daze

Head spinning
Thoughts swirling
Zoom meetings
Touchless greetings.
What was that?
Six feet? No, three feet?
What? I can’t hear you.
Did he say face shield or face mask?
Both?
Communicate with parents
Teach into technology
Practice days —
independent, engaging, meaningful
Group A
Group B
Split A into C and D
and B into E and F
Got that?
No! Wait! What? Why?
Follow up
Feedback
Curriculum!
Curriculum!
Curriculum!
Don’t worry!
Take care of yourself.
Like planes and the oxygen mask.
(Did she say mask?
Or was it shield? Or both?
)
No time to waste!
We got this!
Streamline
Refine
Make it lean.
And green. Definitely green!
Get outside!
(We sprayed for ticks!)
Assessment!
Assessment!
Assessment!
Get a baseline
QuickQuickQuick!
Social emotional health
Build community
Be flexible
Teach in
Wash your hands!
Sanitize!
Sanitize!
Sanitize!
Head spinning
Thoughts swirling…

Are tears sterile?

©Molly Hogan

Again, I can’t emphasize enough how hard everyone in my district is working to put the pieces together thoughtfully. And somehow it will all come together–probably not exactly how we anticipate, but into some sort of workable form. But, wow! There are a lot of pieces and it really is, at times, simply overwhelming. Too many competing demands. Too many unknowns. And a base layer of anxiety under it all. 

Breathe.

28 thoughts on “Professional Daze

  1. Janet F. says:

    Whoa…..it sounds exhausting……scary, too.
    Your poem spins….the exhaustion factor comes through. I really like it and hope it can be shared. And you have a good district to work in! (I have heard some places are not too “user friendly” and that’s putting it mildly. I so admire all of you who will do your best, be kind and help your students get through this crazy year. Good luck, Molly. Here’s a thought, though assume you already have a plan….write (a poem draft?) daily at least notes if not publishable form, about classroom life…..you’ll have a book for sure. Best wishes……PS Have you read Wm Glasser’s The Quality School ? I love it. In there he said teaching is a harder job than neurosurgery……(their patients cooperate ie don’t resist…..) and sadly he thinks only a small % do not resist in the classroom. I would love to see what he would say about what happens due to pandemic constraints!! I would teach using poetry! (If allowed.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Molly and Janet, William Glasser is one of my all time favorites. He gave me the idea of my iteration of class meetings. A giant. He will provide some necessary guidance for you.

      Like

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks for the good wishes and the book recommendation. I haven’t read it but will definitely check it out. Your idea about writing a quick poem draft a day is definitely worth considering as well. I so appreciate your thoughtful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. margaretsmn says:

    The form of this poem sends my head swirling. Hang in there! We all need to be patient with ourselves this school year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. franmcveigh says:

    Your poem format emphasized the angst of this school year. It’s still early so give yourself grace, but do remember that when adults get confused on Zoom . . . so do children. Just “hearing” is not always enough!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks for the reminder, Fran. More than ever, this will be a year of learning for all of us! Luckily my only Zoom encounters for the near term should be district staff meetings. I’m working masked face to masked face with kids every day. 🙂

      Like

  4. cbferris says:

    Just plain crazy! Love, Cheryl

    On Tue, Sep 1, 2020, 6:37 AM Nix the comfort zone wrote:

    > mbhmaine posted: “We had two days at school last week and have four this > week. Next Monday our students arrive. Like most in our area, we plan to > start school with a hybrid model and will have rotating groups of children. > Group A on M/W and Group B on T/Th, with Fridays al” >

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Denise Krebs says:

    Yes, like Margaret said. The poem makes our head spin, just like yours has been spinning in the last days. Professional Daze — so clever.
    I can relate to much of this poem, but these lines say it all for me.

    Got that?
    No! Wait! What? Why?

    I have been at school for six days now, most of it for Professional Daze., and I have literally said something similar each of those days, multiple times. I really enjoyed your poem, and I hope it is cathartic for you. All the best to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Denise! It was definitely cathartic to write this. I had fully intended to write something different this morning but this post is what happened instead. Interesting how that works! It’s nice to know that others can relate. Best of luck to you!

      Like

  6. Goodness, you poem captures it all, Molly. The final line, “Are tears sterile?” is all of us: teachers, kids, parents. Sending you so many good feeling vibes across the world.
    (Speaking of across the world…you expressed an interest in possibly joining a critique group with me and fellow poets from across the world. If this doesn’t fit into your life any more (and by the looks of your present reality it probably doesn’t) no worries!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Bridget! I appreciate the good feeling vibes. Can you remind me what I would be committing to, time-wise, with the critique group? I do love the idea of an international group but should probably keep my sanity in mind as well…

      Like

      • Hi Molly,
        It’s 1 poem and 1 critique of another poets poem, once a month. I don’t have your direct email, but here’s mine:
        bridget(at)bridgetmagee(dot)com
        I’ll send you the introductory email with all the details. We’re just getting started. Looking forward to hearing from you!
        :), Bridget

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I sent your posting and poem to our daughter Molly, a teacher in Mass. She still doesn’t know what the beginning of school is going to look like. Your poem nicely captures the uncertainty, the tension of the moment. Fortunately, I have confidence in bright teachers like yourself will collaborate and give it their best shot. There’s no more that you can do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks for being a consistent cheerleader, Dan! When does Molly anticipate knowing? The not knowing is probably harder than the feeling overwhelmed–the latter is typically par for the course, just amped up on steroids this year.

      Like

      • It’s day to day for our Molly. She and her hubby have chosen to have their own sons learn remotely for the time being. Mass cut 10 days from the school calendar for kids and are starting in two weeks.

        Like

  8. haitiruth says:

    So much empathy. So much.
    Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your swirling, whirling thoughts aptly convey your sensory overload. Hardly surprising under normal start up conditions, but these are strange days indeed and that adds a further complexity to this Covid casserole!
    Our professional minds juggle so much in these early days- or daze!
    Thanks for painting a picture with absolute clarity Molly.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. arjeha says:

    Sounds like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces scattered and turned over. However, when completed it will show a beautiful picture of the effort out in by all involved.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Gail Aldous says:

    Molly, your poem certainly gets your anxiety and overwhelming feelings across. I feel for you. I also think it’s a great idea for you to write a little bit each day about this crazy-covid experience, which would be therapeutic for you. It sounds like your district and teachers have it together under the circumstances, which seems a lot better than the school district that I live in and one of the districts I substitute for. Apparently, the superintendent didn’t get his act together over the summer with all the necessary covid-19 guidelines and school won’t be starting until October fifth. I know you’ll be an amazing teacher even under these conditions and remember children are resilient. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Gail. Our administrators have worked so hard to put this all together. It’s amazing how cohesive the plans are. We’ll see how it all pans out on Tuesday! Fingers crossed!

      Like

  12. Your poem really captures the whirlwind feeling right now for teachers. One moment it’s do this, this, this, and this and the next is–but take care of yourself, breathe, eat, relax, sit. It’s so much and yet yes, everyone is doing their best.
    My best to you in the year!

    Liked by 1 person

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