A Quarantine Birthday- 5/20/2020

Waking up this morning and realizing that it was my 45th birthday was a strange experience. I know that I am not the first person, nor will I be the last person to have a "quarantine" birthday. Last month, my son, Jacob, turned eighteen among all of this craziness. Usually, my husband and I take off for our birthdays and do something fun together. Last year, we went to the vineyards and enjoyed a wonderful day. With COVID-19 closures, taking the day off didn't make sense this year. So as I write this post, I am in the midst of my "new normal" day.

My "new normal" has become strangely rewarding. Starting each day with classroom visits where I model the use of tech tools like Pear Deck gives me an opportunity to connect with my students. After these visits, I usually conduct optional shared learning opportunites where I share tech tools with my colleagues. I love these sessions. Throughout this remote learning environment, I have gotten the chance to connect with colleagues that I hadn't gotten to before during these sessions. After this, I hold my virtual office hours. During this time, teachers come and ask questions about tech tools. Sometimes, we brainstorm solutions to tech issues. It has become a favorite part of my day.

But none of these amazing moments would have happened if things had remained the same. If we hadn't gone into remote learning, we would be in the midst of SOLs, our state testing. All of my coteaching lessons would have ended on May 1st as my role would have been directed towards SOL support. My master schedule classes would have been delegated to classrooms without computers. My days would be bookmarked with setting up testing sessions and breaking them down.

Yes, I am missing out on so many moments that I wish could have happened and would have happened, but as I go through my day today, I am struck by how when I chose my #oneword2020, CHALLENGE, I had no idea how this word would truly mark this year. This year has been a CHALLENGE so far in ways that I could have never imagined back in late December when I selected that word. But these CHALLENGES have led to moments of both personal and professional growth that I could have never predicted six months ago.

Today marks 145 days of journaling and monitoring my goals. In that time, I have truly CHALLENGED myself.

  • I have read 22 books to learn more and enhance my educational repetoire

  • I have submitted proposals to present sessions at 7 conferences, presented at 1 conference. Four of my proposals were accepted for conferences that ended up getting either postponed or cancelled by COVID-19 and I am waiting to hear about 3 proposals.

  • I have guest blogged on both Rachelle Dene Poth's blog and the Teach Better blog.

  • I have lost over 11 pounds and the lowest weight I have been in over a year.

  • I started training again and am completing Week 3 of Couch to 5k.

  • Despite the CHALLENGES of COVID-19, I have worked hard to support my colleagues in any way possible. Together, we survived many synchronous learning challenges and are now working together in new ways to support student learning.

Looking back over my day, I truly have more of an appreciation of the kind things that people did to make my day just a little bit brighter. I feel like we are all so much more conscious of the little things that we can do or that others do for us that make our days better. Here are just a few examples from today:

  • My principal and assistant principal both sent me birthday email greetings.

  • One of my third grade classes sang to me over Blackboard Collaborate Ultra during my visit to their synchronous session this morning.

  • The homemade card my fourteen year old daughter took time to make for me.

Sometimes, it's those little things that really make a difference. The things that make you realize how lucky you truly are to have such amazing people in your life. Your family, a wonderful place to work with such caring and thoughtful colleagues- it means a lot. So rather than focus on what I can't do today or what I am missing, I am focusing on the blessings I do have and the ones I have discovered throughout this experience.