I arrived to school around 7:30am this morning, after about a 50-minute drive through the scenic mountain views of Central Pennsylvania. My solitude allowed me time to listen to a book on Audible based upon a show I fell for over the summer – “Sweet Magnolias.” I’ve begun the story, “Stealing Home,” by Sherryl Woods.

Shortly after my arrival, my phone rang. It was our before/after school sitter calling. My stomach sank. All I could think was that one of my kids had a fever, I missed it, and they were turned away from entering school. Instead, I was met with sobs. Estella was on the other end, crying, but couldn’t say anything. After speaking with our sitter, she shared that both of my children were being loud in the house while her youngest was still asleep. She spoke to them 3 times, sternly, as she should. Well, this was enough to set Estella into an emotional rollercoaster, crying for her mama. She does not do well getting into trouble. When the kids greeted me upon my arrival home, I gave them a stern talking to, which again, led Estella into her emotional rollercoaster.

 Again today, we had some issues arise at the beginning of art class when our remote learners. It took about 8 minutes between myself and the homeroom teacher to get the artists from inside the computer screen on track before class could start in person. Today the artists waiting were patient, quiet, engaged in artmaking on their own, and flexible with this extra time. I made it a point to tell them our appreciative I was of this.

I did not quite recover from my exhaustion yesterday, and I am dragging today.

I love teaching at the elementary level. I love taking the stage every class and stepping into the role of art teacher. I can be animated, I can use fun and silly voices, I can take myself out of my normal comforts and almost become someone else in front of these artists. I truly believe this “someone else” is closer to my authentic “art teacher self” than I have ever been until this point in my career. It feels good.

This week my mind has turned its radar on to the possibility of any upcoming fire drills. We are suppose to practice one a month. I have 30 different classrooms that I travel in between, and I do not have those escape routes memorized yet. I do not have the 600+ artists names memorized yet either.

My face hurts something fierce. I could use a facial massage.

The exciting news I spoke of last week: we are now able to use the playground equipment at recess. Of course, it comes with 20-seconds of hand washing before and after use. You may not have any idea what this feeling is like, but it’s the closest thing to Christmas that I can relate it to right now.

As I part ways with my entry today, I am reminded of how thankful and appreciative my artists are to welcome additions to their toolboxes. A local church donated funds that equipped two classrooms with colored pencils packs for each of the artists. They were delighted and extremely happy that they had more than the standard crayon packs and writing pencils that they already had in their toolboxes. I felt like Santa.