22 Days, 528 Hours, 31,680 Minutes
This is how long I've been sheltered in place. In place at home with my family, meanwhile, displaced from my second home--school. On March 12, 2020, I unknowingly said good-bye to my students for the last time. Had I known that would be the last time I'd see them this school year, I would have done a gagillion things differently. I would've made sure they had their writer's notebooks to take home with them and as many books as they could possibly jam in their backpacks from our classroom library shelves. We could've spent the day just being with one another, talking, laughing, making memories, but I didn' know. No one knew. The following day was Records Day. I sat alone in my classroom, alone at my desk in a state of uncertainty, fear, and sadness, alone in my classroom while trying to focus on marking report cards. My playlist was a combination of Cory Asbury, Alanis Morissette, and 90s R&B. All over the place. I know!---and so were my emotions. My principal called a staff meeting in the library. There we were informed that our district wouldn't be back in session until after Spring Break. April 13th. Okay,...that's four weeks. That's not too long. Well, that was what now seems like forever ago. That was before the spread of COVID-19 was spiking at rapid rates in our great state of Michigan. On April 2, 2020, we were officially informed that the 2019-2020 school year was finished as we knew it. No more face to face instruction for K-12 students for the remainder of the year. I knew this news would be coming, however, didn't actually know how to process it all once things were made official. Our lives have been forever changed as a result of this global pandemic. I could give you my long and shortlists, but I'm sure you have your own so I won't.
I've spent the past 22 days, 528 hours, 31,680 minutes occupying my time, energy and attention reaching out to those I love near and far, checking in with school families, and engaging with my students on Flipgrid. I've read books that have been in my stack for months, attended #ClubQuarantine with DJ DNice, and enjoyed virtual author read-alouds with some of the greats like #KwameAlexander, #JacquelineWoodson, #JoshFunk, #JarrettLerner, and #NicStone on Instagram and Facebook. It's been good for me to not be so busy and have the time to spend doing simply enjoyable things without the dictation of a set schedule.
It's April and one of my favorite months as a teacher and secretly developing writer. With all this time I've been gifted to be still, I've decided to use some of it for developing my writing. Kwame Alexander read The Crossover on IG Live this past week. When I tell you I listened and watched with bated breath---whew...I was all in, do you hear me? His craft is playful and deep-diving. I love it. One poem from The Crossover is titled ca-lam-i-ty, which inspired me to write in a similar style. Here goes. You can tell me what you think. clo-sure [ˈklōZHər] noun an act or process of closing something, especially an institution As in: Governor Whitmer issued an executive order that all face to face schooling was done for the year to help lessen the spread of the dreaded COVID-19 virus that has caused catastrophic-calamity-type closure. As in: Playground swing sets draped in yellow caution tape are a prohibited recreational escape out of the urgency of keeping-us-safe-type closure. As in: Classrooms shut up, sealed, and locked tight like time capsules until the right conditions for a grand reopening present themselves type closure. clo-sure [ˈklōZHər] noun a feeling that an emotional or traumatic experience has been resolved. As in: The kind that is heavy with crying done with a lump lodged in your throat, not grieving lesson plans untaught, but lamenting the loss of final high fives you never gave, field trips planned and saved for later, and those memories yet to be made, closure. Closure? Yes, but not really.