Day 14 for me.

As I am reflecting over my day, and journaling as if this were my diary, I believe that it is appropriate to begin as such, so here it goes:

Dear diary,

I am so glad that you are here for me to help me process my thoughts. It is only lunchtime at this point in my day, and my mind is buzzing with so many emotions that I had no choice but to take them to you before I do anything else.

At this moment in time, I am burdened and overwhelmed by everything that my profession is presenting to me. Again, I had a mishap with remote learning this morning, right off the bat, and this sucked the life right out of me. It took a little less than 15 minutes to get the remote-learning part of this one class on track before I could direct my attention to the in-person learners. I had to stop at one point during that first part of class and request silence because I couldn’t hear my conversation with my remote-learner. I get it. It’s Monday morning. These kids have been waiting patiently, but are antsy to get started or tired from the weekend. The rest of that class time was challenging. Our hearts weren’t in it like normal. This is hard. I can feel my anxiety beginning to creep back into her old position of mind-wrecker, negative self-talker, and taking on fight or flight mode. Again, I felt defeated this morning. I hate to say this, but as I type, I can feel the tears welling up and my emotions are going nuts thinking through what happened earlier. I wish I had the option of being an in-person teacher or an online teacher because being both at the same time is tearing away at my desire to teach right now.

The next two classes may have saved me from flight mode.

For the first time in my life, I prepared a painting lesson teaching from a cart, with no supply sharing, in someone else’s room. I am fortunate to work with homeroom teachers who are flexible, given my art-on-a-cart situation. Thank you. I set up my painting supplies and passed out some things before school began, which made the lesson time go much smoother. Every artist had their own paper, brushes, watercolor tray, and small pet dish with one side water and the other a sponge. We painted to a story by Eric Carle, one that was set to music thanks to YouTube, and the studio time was engaging and relaxing for everyone there. The homeroom teacher also agreed to allow me to come back at the end of the day to gather the supplies on my painting cart.

The next class before lunch listened to an animated version of “Harold and the Purple Crayon” and then we talked about how artists use their imagination to tell stories, as well as hitting upon the element of art, line – specifically using contour lines – as a way to define shapes in our drawings. It was a delight to watch the young artists create from imaginations and then watch their excitement and eagerness to share with our class artist community for the 30-Second Spotlights that wrapped up the studio time. Before leaving this class, one of the little artists boldly stated, “I could watch art videos of you all day.” “Of me?” I clarified. Indeed, of me.

My afternoon was spent in EC classes, and unfortunately, there was more to clean up than art supplies. That’s another story for another day.

I taught both of my classes the line song. I can’t recall where I learned it, but it’s fun to sing. I wrote about having to bribe my children to help me with making a video last weekend – it was for this lesson. A few years ago, I partnered with the high school’s preschool class and taught the kids this song. It’s fun to sing in class, even from behind a mask. Singing makes my heart happy, and not having the outlet of choral singing this fall is a tough change for both my husband and me. Singing in a choir together is one of the few activities we can do together, have adult time with other adults, and have a bit of musical therapy.

At dismissal time, I asked one of my kinders the name of his mama because I had a hunch that I had both of his parents as artists way back at the charter school I began my teaching at years and years ago. I was right.

The end of my workday has arrived. I am glad that it ended better than it started, but I am tired. My standing and walking rings are close to closed, and now my phone is reminding me to take a moment to focus on breathing. I’ll do my best to close them all when I get home and get a second wind.

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