Some days are fine. Actually, some days are pretty great. I do a lot of things that I love doing that care for my body and mind and spend time with good people. I am incredibly lucky. After I started using my humidifier I stopped waking up with a stuffy face. Many of my fears were assuaged with this development. I continue to go on my walks, like a walk with Max's mom, a walk with friends Sofia and Zoe, and another walk with Ezra and Jacob. The intention is always the best social distancing, but I would be lying if I said we kept at least 6 feet away from each other for the entire walk. The only person I made sure to actually keep 6 feet away from was Max's mom, since people in her generation are advised to be extra cautious due to the higher risks that are associated with older age with the virus.
Some days are hard. I woke up one morning to the news that the first person had died of Covid-19 in my county. My brain stopped for a minute. People had already been dying, but now they were dying close to me. The truth is that I didn't realize they hadn't already been dying close to me. Then another day I wake up and see a famous person has died. When the famous person dies their whole life story is crammed into a short article, covered by all the major and local news sources. If someone dies who was only famous to the few people that knew them, their name is not included in the article.
The state of Michigan is on lockdown now. All non-essential businesses are closed. Restaurants can still do carryout. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and the post office are still running.
There are two days where I just wake up sad. I just feel sad, the whole day. I don't want to do as many things. When I force myself to walk or play cello I feel better, but still sad. I don't get much done. There was no specific event that lead to these days. Well, nothing specific other than the perpetual reminders that our world is in an unprecedented health emergency. Then I wake up the next day and feel fine.
I make some more bread. I freak out because there is a bug bite on my leg and I cannot tell what kind of bite it is. I destroy my roommates in poker. I read.
New York is getting hit hard. My family is not in the worst of it (NYC), but they are not that far away (Poughkeepsie). People I know through relation are becoming diagnosed, including parents of childhood friends. I'm worried about my parents going to the grocery store.
Friends from New York start sharing articles about the increase in gun sales. They share pictures of long lines outside of gun stores. So far, most of the reactions I have seen from people in the midst of the crisis have been things like teachers sharing resources, families finding new ways to connect, friends checking in with friends, and invitations to mutual-aid pages and meditation groups. I've been feeling good about the state of humanity. But reading all the comments on gun posts of people with shared experiences, seeing long gun lines. terrifies me. Maybe I am in a naive bubble, and the gun-buying toilet paper-hoarding America is the more accurate depiction of humanity in crisis.
Being a "specials" teacher is hard. It means I am not the one responsible for checking in with students or communicating with them. Parents are supposed to access our "weekly lesson plan" through the district wide specials website, which the classroom teachers include in their weekly communication. But instrumental music, although a "special", is only a 5th-grade special, and therefore is not included on the weekly calendar provided in the district. One of my colleagues says his daughter, a first-grader at one of our schools, has never received the specials link from her teacher.
It feels great to see students submitting things and writing us messages. But the reality is that only 35 or so students out of 350 are submitting things. Submitting things is not required, so they could be doing things and not submitting them. But data showing 10 % of students are engaged doesn't feel great.
I didn't sign up to be a teacher to make lesson plans, send them out, and have no communication with students. It doesn't feel like teaching. But I don't want to overburden students and assign them too much for my own benefit of validating myself.
So I text Joe and tell him I want to create a bingo board for our students. He's down. I can't wait for our video meeting to get my ideas down so I start creating the squares. "Take a silly picture of you practicing your instrument and submit it to the Silly Picture Challenge," "Play the Gravity game on the note-reading quizlet and screenshot your high score," "Teach a relative how to hold the bow and take a picture." I'm excited. Joe joins the fun and in the end we have something like this: (ST)RINGO.
I post it to a string teacher Facebook group and people seem to really like the idea. It feels great. Almost as good as actual teaching.