When there are no answers…

I’ve been milling this post over in my head for the last month or so. Trying to think about how to condense everything I’ve been thinking and feeling into a coherent message.

But I don’t have one.

These are complex times with complex situations that call for….you guessed it, complex answers. It’s not really something that can be distilled into one blog.

So, anyway, I’m going to release myself of whatever I was trying to do and instead just capture my thoughts right now.

Mainly, this whole situation is overwhelming.

I feel like I’m teaching into a void. I have a lot of engagement from a few kids. Zero engagement from a few kids. Most of the kids are somewhere in the middle there. Turning in their digital assignments, but not otherwise reaching out. It all feels very transactional and not like teaching at all.

The weight of the equity issue feels very heavy. Kids are all different. Families are all different. Homes are all different. This difference is one of my favorite things about teaching. But now, it makes remote learning especially challenging. It’s difficult (maybe impossible) to know who needs additional support and how I can help them.

Learning a whole new system is exhausting. I wrote earlier this year about how this year felt like year one over again because I had an entirely new teaching position. Well then, this is a whole other first year.

All of the systems I had worked to reestablish (I was just feeling like I had my organization and paper management under control) are completely out of the window! Teaching remotely through Google Classroom requires a whole other management skill set that I hadn’t even considered. When a student didn’t turn in a digital assignment before I looked at them and said “Hey, student, did you do this assignment? Do you need help?” Now, I spend a lot of time just wondering if kids are done or need help.

At the same time, I’m trying to provide flexibility and “op-out” ability for families for whom this is entirely too much. I’m working to support families in whatever way works for them right now. Trying to design a baseline level of activities and then ways kids and families can ramp those up or down based on their individual situations feels impossible. It probably is.

There’s a reason why the saying “You can’t be everything to every one” is a cliche. It’s all I keep repeating to myself because that’s what this feels like. I’m trying to be everything to everyone, and the whole thing feels overwhelming, heavy, and exhausting.

And that’s where I sit today. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Here’s my cat Lucy at my make-shift workstation that once was our kitchen table. For no other reason than this picture makes me smile.

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