Yesterday, I spent half the morning reading news. During the other half, I read student discussion board posts. This constant access to news and daily briefings pulls me away from other productive tasks – grading, planning, cooking, socializing.
Then, after receiving notice that K-12 schools will be closed until at least April 30, I began worrying even more about my college junior, high school senior, and 8th grader academically, socially, and emotionally.
- My college kiddo has another year, but this was supposed to be her first summer staying on campus. We haven’t heard if campus will be open in May or not. The uncertainty of this spring and summer – college, baseball, jobs – makes all of us anxious.
- The senior has been furloughed from her vet clinic job. Now she’s much more aware of her separation from normal daily senior routines and friends. I meant to get a picture of her in scrubs as a 2020 senior tribute. Perhaps there will be another time.
- The athletic eighth grader has been horizontal more than vertical on some days. Baseball has been postponed indefinitely. We bought the baseball pictures, but it might be more to remember his team than to celebrate their time together.
As for me, quarantine jokes are starting to resemble my reality a little too closely. My days are blurring together. I feel guilty many evenings for not accomplishing more that day. I see little point in dressing in real clothes. This article about working from home provides some good guidelines.
One social media post from a retired teacher reminded me (us) that we are not homeschooling our children; we are surviving. E-learning was intended to be short-term and not a replacement for teaching. Children should read, do math, and be creative during this time away from the classroom. All will be fine. The online lessons cannot replace the classroom experience for most students, and I am finding that to be true for many of my college students, as well.
However, I cannot ignore the blessings that have emerged. The 13-year old asked his mom and dad to play Uno with him Monday night. He won – but that was before we looked up the real rules. It will be a different story next time. I’ve also heard him talking with his older sister, the one he always fights with. She might have been listening to him explain football, something she has previously had no interest in watching, playing, or hearing about at any level. All three of them wrestle at least once every few days.
I need more of this. I need to step away from the digital world. Constant news, opinions, activity ideas, quarantine memes, among my responsibilities to be online to grade and respond to colleagues and students are pulling me into a strange emotional, information overload.
It is time to unplug. The next few days might be warm enough for some walks in between classes and emails, but I plan to schedule some longer blocks of time for me and the family to turn off all devices. A new Yahtzee game is opened and ready. We’ve brushed up on our Uno rules. I could try winning another game of Monopoly.
Unfortunately, spinning the wheel on The Game of Life might hit a little too close to home.