9 months into this pandemic and we have given birth to fear, isolation, sorrow, and frustration. Rewind! 9 months ago in the world of education we left school on March 13 (A Friday!) thinking we were getting an extended March Break and we would come back to our students a little more refreshed and ready having had extra days to catch up on sleep. Fast forward to 9 months later and our lives, as teachers and students have been turned upside down.
As a primary teacher I returned to the classroom after doing Special Education for seven years and I was a little excited to have my own class, do my own thing with them, giving them a home away from home experience. The kids were excited to come back to school and get back into a routine they so desperately needed. Whoop! Check! When we returned we entered a whole new realm- masks, visors, desks a metre apart, tape on the walls to show where you stand in line, walking with zombie arms is the new “lips and hips”- What in the heck is this? I can’t teach like this. I can’t have fun with my students because I can’t even take off my mask to read them a story and show my goofy faces while I read it to them. Insert Charlie Brown voice, “Why me! Why now!”
Ok! I said to myself, enough whining! While I often steer clear of “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” (I don’t believe that! She has given plenty of over the top situations that required way more of me than I was willing to give). I did try to reframe my thinking. The pandemic is here to stay. I made a choice to pray for patience and peace.
This thinking/ praying developed into COVID- Care Of Very Important Disciples. We are these disciples and all those we live with, serve with, and encounter are the VIDs in our CO. Now, in an effort to get through this together, my staff, sisters, friends and family continue to feed the poor, my classroom is a safe zone and we play, “Noodle Tag”, so we can “touch” each other, our zombie arms have become “spacers”, and the class is our home.
With the birth of Jesus just weeks away, our preparations centre on making Christmas special for struggling families. Approximately 50 families in my small school will receive a Christmas package this year. The advent wreath made from traced hands will grace the bulletin board. The Elf on the Shelf will show up hanging from the ceiling of the classroom. And together we will wait in joy for the coming of Christ and the end to a pandemic that together calls us to be better.
Take a page from this student who found her own pace in the craziness of a lunchtime chaos.
Article and picture by: Connie Harrington, SNJM