My Name was Supposed to be Elizabeth Ann

— Stories from the Roads (Not) Taken

So I love showing up early to my own classroom Google Meets because, well, I like to be prepared for things–the early bird and all that–but also because some of my kids show up early and I chat with them about non-class topics like, Is that a Squirtle poster? (Yes). And, What’s your parakeet’s name? (He doesn’t have one.)

An aside, one of my students has not one but TWO pet rats whom I’ve met virtually, and I must say that, while rats in general are not my thing, hers seemed perfectly reasonable and friendly creatures–not the least prone to transmitting Bubonic or other such nasties. 

Now seems like a good time to mention that I teach seniors mostly, with a smattering of freshmen through juniors. 

Anyhow, sometimes we discuss Whether it really is cold enough to wear a fuzzy blanket to class (always), and Why we aren’t wearing socks (wet nail polish, of course). Sometimes we discuss yawning and tea versus coffee or Boost (which is like flat cola and a New Jersey staple and something I could never understand, being neither a NJ native nor a fan of soda). 

Actually, we discuss yawning and sleeping A LOT because, quite frankly, we are all TIRED like, ALL THE TIME.

Speaking of which, we talk about TIME. About how sloooooowly time moves. How hard it is to keep track of the minutes and days when the minutes and days seem like eating Jello without a spoon. Ever try to scoop Jello with your hands? It’s okay at first, but then it wobbles, and globs plop on the carpet or your pants, and the globs still in your hands start to ooze and goo because Jello is supposed to stay cold or it melts. Not counting the scary over-preserved pre-made packages in the Shoprite non-refrigerated snack aisle.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah. Time. These days, time feels like scooping Jello with my hands. I hate Jello. I hate Jello and it’s all my mother’s fault. She knows this, or she should, because I tell her all the time.

Ha! Ha! Like what I did there?

Anyway, I don’t like Jello because when I was little and sick and would hide my Children’s Chewables between the sofa cushions, my mother would instead crush them up in a bowl of Jello, which–in case you haven’t realized–is DISGUSTING. So no Jello for me. Ever.

But I do like Time. 

And I enjoy spending non-teaching time chatting with my students. I wish I had more such time,  like I did when school was normal and students crowded the halls and my room and our conversations were frequent and spontaneous and as natural as breathing. Priceless, though I didn’t know that then.

God, how I miss it.

*****

Fellow educators, what do YOU miss most about pre-Covid teaching? I’d love to hear your stories. Drop your comments below!

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