SOL March 13th The Art Room

I dropped into her classroom on the off chance that she might be free. It was the last block of the day. I stepped inside the doorway and the room was alive with calm and purposeful activity. 5th grade. Some kids at tables, one on the carpet, a few clustered around their teacher whom I had to actually find as I looked around. Music played – instrumental: slow but not sad, relaxing but not sedating.

Look at these kids! There’s H stepping back to study her sculpture with a critical eye. O. and N. are already onto the painting phases chatting across the room about the challenges of getting to the hard to reach places. Of the students seeking advice from their teacher, I notice one of my quietest students waiting patiently to pose her question. And when it’s her turn, she looks the teacher in the eye in a way that surprises me – it is so direct and full of trust. I am taken aback at how emotional I become.

Look at these kids. I think I have most of them in PE or had them last year. They are familiar to me but not the way they are now – immersed in their creative pursuits. Some of them wear headphones (noise cancelling, perhaps) and no one seems off-task, bored or idle. They are creating wire sculptures, anchored in a wooden block. Once the wire shapes are fixed, these are covered with nylon stocking pieces which are then painted. I salute their engagement, their sense of progress, their joy in creating.

That’s when the tears well up and I need to leave again. This is what we will lose. This is what we will miss. This is the miracle of every day at school in one way or another. It matters that we can gather and be and do and learn together. I know it’s for a month; this too shall pass but I also hope we can acknowledge loss and make space for grief in this sudden process.

Never miss the water ’til it’s gone.

9 thoughts on “SOL March 13th The Art Room

  1. “They are familiar to me but not the way they are now …”

    This is why it is so important for us to see our students in other spaces, doing other things … and remembering the whole child, even when we only see part of that whole child in front of us at any given moment. Great post, and a powerful reminder.
    Kevin

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  2. This is so powerful. You’re so right about leaving space to grieve this loss. I was struck by that as the kids left on Wednesday. They did not have the joy of leaving for a break or for a weekend,even. Many of them looked confused. Some looked stoic, but there were a significant number who lingered over the goodbyes, not really wanting to give up their community.

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  3. acknowledge loss and make space for grief in this sudden process.

    This feels like a theme in so many pieces I’m reading today. This isn’t like a snow day. This is indefinite and that does make me feel like there is loss. Loss of all that you described here.

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  4. I can relate to your post. We said goodbye to our kids today. I mentioned in another comment that there is a reason why machine learning has not become reality – children need a human teacher, they need relationships. We don’t know yet how the distance learning is going to affect the children. Ot the teacher. Sending you some sunshine.

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  5. Your blog post answers the question, “Why don’t we take everything to the cloud? “It matters that we can gather and be and do and learn together.” The school community is just that. I also love how you show that it’s great to expand the views of our students by seeing them elsewhere, away from our personal context.

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  6. This IS the miracle. Absolutely. And with (yet again) your clear language and beautiful imagery, you have reminded us of the uniqueness and wonder that is each and every one of our students. Thank you.

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  7. The line that stuck with me is “It matters that we can gather and be and do and learn together.” This is what makes this situation so much more difficult. Thank you for sharing this lovely and vulnerable moment of your day.

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  8. This line… ‘I also hope we can acknowledge loss and make space for grief in this sudden process.’ It has all been so sudden and it is a miracle each day. You captured all of this and more in your slice. It’s beautiful!

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  9. A miracle indeed! I’m going to miss it! I don’t miss it in the summer because in the summer it feels like we’ve finished something. It feels unfinished to walk away for a few weeks mid-year.

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