The last 5 days have been a whirlwind; a mixture of anxiety, fear, and worry. How will my students fare during our 4 weeks of school closure? How can I help them maintain the amazing growth they’ve gained as readers and writers? And now with libraries closed, how will they get access to books once they read through the ones we have sent home?
I set these worries aside as I walked into my classroom this morning for our last day of planning before our doors close for a deep cleaning. I sat down at my desk with a “to do” list a mile long. My plan for the day included:
- Coordinating with teachers to connect with our shared students via their class platform: Seesaw, Class Dojo, Google Classroom etc.
- Grabbing books and other materials in preparation or a month at home.
- Creating my first daily newsletter via Smore to send to students with resources and ideas for learning.
- Clearing my classroom walls and tabletops for a deep cleaning. By the way, I am in awe of our cleaning staff for dedicating themselves to providing a safe learning space for our children. We must express our gratitude for them daily!
About 10 minutes into my list, my dear friend Krista (yes, we share the same name) walked into my room and asked if I had books to send home to students who will be receiving meals during our school’s closure. The idea of delivering a bag of books along with their meals to each family came from Krista and Amy, two middle school ELA teachers.
Before I knew it, I ditched my “to do” list and started searching for books. Krista and Amy also elicited our middle and high school librarian Sandy’s help and together we worked for 3 hours to gather books for students in grades K-12. While Amy, Krista and Sandy took on the task of collecting addresses, labeling book bags, gathering books for upper grade students, and determining what books we still needed, I ran around rummaging through shelves and seeking the expertise of our elementary librarian, Maria, to help me find books that she thought would appeal to lower grade level students. In each bag, we placed a note to families that read: “Here are some books to brighten your day. We are thinking of you and hope that you are well.”
For me, this experience embodied Gandhi’s words: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” In my last blog post, I discussed the role of service in grounding us during these uncertain times. Click here for the link. Today, thanks to Krista and Amy and the support of our district administrators and the bus drivers and staff who agreed to deliver the books, I lived those words.
I left the building feeling energized, joyful and grateful. And as for my “to do” list, there’s always tomorrow.