Call me modernist if you wish, but I really don’t know how to inhabit life without my own personal interests, memories, and desires, all working together to create my perception. Yesterday my daughter wrote, You love luck. She’s a perceptive one, but that is hardly a secret. I am obsessed with lucky objects, from a penny found on the road to any number of things that seem to ignite good fortune. I am equally obsessed with avoiding bad luck or drifting into that storyline. Not like I play the lottery, but if I am able to wrap up my work day with enough time to enjoy the outdoors under a moving canopy, I consider my fortune to be worthwhile. This week I’ve had a string of days with such luck. Hiking, running, biking and even a woods walk, all skirted between rain bursts.
Today of all days we needed to get out of the classroom and out into the world of art, artifacts, and architecture, if for no other reason than to return the joyous smiles to our lucky busload of students. These kiddos have hung in through the shut-down of COVID, the masked return, the uncertainty of their future, civil liberties, freedoms, and especially their lives. Even with the wind blowing at a mighty clip, or perhaps in awe of it, we stood in front of Nancy Winship Milliken’s moving sculptures and allowed the conversation to soar. Nothing like a road-trip field-trip to generate well-needed good vibes to keep spirits moving to the positive.
Often I end my school year on a high, feeling each student’s gain as my own, each of their successes intrinsically linked to my doing. Well, perhaps that is a bit egotistically, but I do work very very hard all year long, meeting students where they are, and helping them make steps toward their goals, so often I celebrate their favorable results. Equally true is my sense of loss when they don’t hit the mark.
But this year, there is no meter or measurement that could calculate as it once did. While in dismissal, so many students worked through remarkable challenges to attend google meets whether on their beds, on a Spring-time sunny deck, sitting in isolation while in noisy kitchens, or even driving in a car, and often times with confusion and worry etched into their faces. Yet together we moved into unknown territory to find meaning and hope and the value in learning, despite uneven odds. There is little to discuss about school prior to March, as what followed was so unprecedented, but all the work I did (and teachers around the globe did) to keep students’ trust, to reenergize their enthusiasm, and to maintain consistent pathways for them to work remotely, were crafted and put solidly in place, and that speaks volumes. Students, many who were at first melancholy over everything they lost, gained strength from each other, from this new community, and worked diligently until the end. I am proud of their integrity and resolve.