On Friday night, I came home from the first week of hybrid and knew I needed to plan something with my family or else I might collapse in the middle of the family room or fall asleep standing up in my kitchen! So I pulled out a puzzle and announced that it was family puzzle night. This was an interesting Toy Story puzzle. It was labeled as a "Together Time Puzzle" and had three different sizes of puzzle pieces, small, medium and large. The idea is that the large pieces are for children, the medium pieces are for everyone, and the small pieces are for adults. We spread out the 400 different sized pieces on our kitchen table and got to work.
As we were all working on the puzzle, I couldn't help but think about what we have been asked to do right now in school. As I chat with teachers and read your parent emails and see you trying to figure this all out, I can't help but think we have been assigned a giant puzzle to try to complete. There are so many pieces and they are in all different shapes and sizes.
I found myself staring at my kitchen table and sometimes the connections would jump right out at me. I see that when I watch you all teach or listen to you with your students. Even though it may be only two pieces that you connect, I see glimpses of the joy that we all get when working with our students. But then I would stare at the kitchen table and it would seem like finding a match or a connection was impossible. And there were moments when I wanted to just give up, walk away from the puzzle and not think about it. But then I would see my husband find several connecting pieces or I would see Emerson and Cayce helping each other and encouraging each other and cheering when they found one piece. And that helped me keep working at it.
We did not finish the puzzle that night. But we accomplished a lot. This puzzle that we are all working on right now...hybrid, remote, online, streaming, technology, teaching, learning...we are not going to finish it right now. But last week, we accomplished a lot. You all, once again, had the puzzle pieces dumped over your head and were told to just do it. And of course, you did what you always do. Rolled up your sleeves and started putting the pieces back together.
This puzzle we are working on right now feels like one of those extremely challenging ones...the ones where it's 1,000 pieces that are all a similar shade or the ones where the straight edge pieces go within the puzzle and on the edge or one of the puzzles where the pieces are double sided. It feels impossible. It feels overwhelming. It doesn't feel fun. Just know that within the first week you put some pieces together. And this week you will put some more pieces together. And when you want to give up on this puzzle...look at the person across the hall or next door. Watch them put some pieces together, let them motivate you. Let them help you. And when we get through this year and complete this puzzle...it's going to feel good.
Which pieces will you put together today?
I am still enjoying listening to former President Obama read his book A Promised Land. I am also enjoying A Home for Goddesses and Dogs by Leslie Connor.
Events this week:
Monday - Cohort A day
Tuesday - Cohort A day, Fire drill in the AM
Wednesday - remote learning day for all, SIMCO meeting @ 3:30
Thursday - Cohort B day, Fire drill in the AM
Friday - Cohort B day, term 2 grades close, report cards will be available to parents in PS on Feb. 3
Check it out:
Check out this short video about 6 ways to be an anti-racist educator:
I get a Sunday blog from Dave Burgess Publishing and this snippet from a former classroom teacher and technology integration specialist, an incredible educational consultant, content developer, presenter, and the author of our newest release, Project-Based Learning Anywhere...Dr. Lori Elliot...definitely stuck with me. The quote from her friend and the image of trying to carry all the groceries and add one more thing...yep.
3. Making Sense of Things
This past year has been tough. All of us can relate to the toll the pandemic has had on us emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. I was talking with a friend not too long ago, and she explained her mental state in a way that made total sense to me. She said, "You know when you get home with your groceries, and you don't want to make extra trips to the house, so you carry everything you can at once. Then you grab one more, small item and you drop the whole load. That's how I feel every single day. It is too much, and the small things seem to cause me to fall apart." Isn't that the truth. Things that would never bother us in "normal times" like forgetting a password or an email from a parent with a question seems to push us right off the side of a cliff. The situation my friend explained is really the struggle between Survival Brain and Learning Brain. I found a very helpful video from Dr. Jacob Ham that helps us as educators understand trauma and simple ways we can move ourselves and our students from Survival Brain to Learning Brain. This has been such a great reminder that our feelings are valid, and we are truly still living in survival mode. Understanding Trauma: Learning Brain vs. Survival Brain