What’s that feeling?


My teaching partner, Sara, and I met at school yesterday. We sat in her classroom and thought and talked through a “typical” day’s schedule. Subject by subject. Transition by transition.

“Will kids be able to turn in paper homework?”
“How will we “gather” for our morning meeting?”
“Can we get bottles of sanitizer for the classroom library area?”
“If we read outside, what do we need to bring with us?”
“What will snack look like? How can kids be 6 feet apart in the room? Will some be eating on the floor?”
“Can kids turn and talk? What will partner work look like?”
“What are some good times for movement breaks?”

and on
and on
and on.

It took us over three hours.

We had to pull ourselves off the dizzy ledge of “Ahhhhhhhh!!!!” a few times, but overall, it was purposeful and productive work–though it left us with piles of unanswered questions and some uncertainty about how this would all pull together.

Afterward I puttered about in my classroom, looking through new and old books, sorting and organizing. I’ve been reading Katie Wood Ray’s “Wondrous Words” (Finally! Yes (shame-faced), for the first time. No! Most definitely not for the last time!) so I have reading like a writer on my mind. I paged through books and organized, considering possible mentor texts and envisioning how I might use them with student writers. Envisioned how student writers might use them. I felt a sort of internal shift. Something felt foreign. Different. Almost… anticipatory?

After a bit, I realized this moment reminded me of the scene from Kate DiCamillo’s Tiger Rising when Rob is running in the woods with Sistine, wondering what it is that feels different.

“Then Rob remembered the name of the feeling that was pushing up inside him, filling him to overflowing. It was happiness. That was what it was called.”

Oh. Yes.

Now I remember.

This is what excitement feels like. That’s what it’s called.

in my classroom
sorting books
nudges anxiety
to the side