The second grade homerooms are one pretty long hallway down from my classroom. On each school day, I’d pick “my kids” up from their classrooms and we’d head down to my room together. This time of the year, the line was growing and we would look like a nearly full sized class. One of my students would often play games on the walk down hopping from different color tile to different colored floor tile or trying not to step on the cracks. I’d watch him get his friends to join in and allow them to hop about until the halls would fill with first graders coming to their specials.

That was just over a month ago, when everything was perfectly normal. I’d had a really stressful few weeks at school with meetings. I had just finished up my seventh IEP in much fewer than that many weeks and I knew better times were ahead.

Times where I did less paperwork and more teaching. The students were blossoming and we were headed into the sweet spot. My meetings were wrapping up, my students were making progress , and everyone was starting to feel success. The magic of chapter books had just begun. In the beginning of the school when many of students were struggling to read, I made a promise to them that we’d work together and by the end of the year they’d be reading chapter books. Here we were at the beginning of the magic and then all at once it ended.

The floor is lava, that’s where we are now. We have entered a real life game of the floor is lava. The grocery orders are picked up and we sort and wipe everything off while wearing our gloves. The mail arrives and I look at the box and think how long should it sit there before I get it. Then I get it and place it in the garage for a few more days. I wash my hands after touching everything, scrub in like I did when my son was in the NICU.

A few weeks ago, we had to mail in our very cumbersome tax return. We don’t go in anywhere so we had to use a food scale to figure out postage and cross our fingers it has arrived. Don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mother’s back… Many of us are waving at grandparents through doorways or windows. Driveway visits are highlights. Over thirty days now and I watch people hug on TV or give high fives and it doesn’t even seem normal anymore.

While in this quarantine, I have so many blessings. We have had joy and thankfulness most days, though fear and sadness are always lurking. Today I walked by the bookshelf and felt sadness over my missed time with “my kids.” I promised them that they’d leave me reading chapter books and they were almost there, but then the floor really did become lava…


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