Wandering, Middle School Version

While I know that many teachers have gone back to school days or weeks or months ago, where I live, the shift from fully online learning to hybrid learning is still in the future. On April 19, I will be back in the classroom with students in some sort of quasi-functional blend of students who are still fully online, students who are home but attending virtually because it is not their classroom day, and students who are in the actual classroom. Nothing could possibly go wrong with THAT model. In keeping with all of our information meetings (which seemed to primarily consist of administrators saying, “We don’t know yet,” over and over), we are going in to the actual building tomorrow through Wednesday for training in how this amazing system will work.

I will be in a room tomorrow with 70 other teachers and admin from my building.

I don’t think I have even seen 70 people since March of last year.

I didn’t even know gatherings that large were allowed yet. (Are they?)

Ok, I got distracted by looming agoraphobia there for a moment. The only thing that we do know for certain is that the students will be in one room all day, stuck at their desks, and the core teachers (Humanities, Science, and Math) will rotate through in order to minimize student contact with other cohorts. I truly cannot imagine students being able to simply sit at their desks all day without moving around. How is class supposed to function when we are all glued to our 6 square foot areas? I mean, I can put everything on the computer for them, but then…wouldn’t that be just like them working from home, except for uncomfortably stuck in one place for hours, minus snacks and not wearing their pajamas. So this got me thinking hard about all the reasons students leave their seats during one completely normal class period.

My tooth fell out. Do you have an envelope?

My tooth fell out and my mouth is full of blood and I am still bleeding.

I have a nosebleed.

I need a bandaid.

I need a whole lot of bandaids because blood is gushing down my leg and filling my sock because something sharp is sticking out of the edge of the table.

I need ice because I got smashed into the wall playing basketball at lunch and I think my fingers are broken.

My chair broke.

I need a pencil.

I need an eraser.

I need another pencil.

I need to sharpen my pencil.

I need to sharpen my pencil some more.

Oh, that pencil broke in half. I need another pencil.

My Chromebook is dead.

My Chromebook battery is low. Can I sit by my friend and use theirs?

My Chromebook battery is low. Can I sit by the power outlet and charge it?

I need some paper.

I need a new book to read.

I need a Sharpie.

I need colored pencils/colored paper/markers.

I cannot see from that spot.

He keeps poking me.

The student next to me keeps looking up bad words in Russian on the internet and repeating them to me.

I need a drink.

I need to use the bathroom.

I need a kleenex.

I need a pair of scissors.

My table is wobbling.

The leg fell off of my table.

I want the blue chair.

There is gum on the bottom of my chair.

It’s my day for the yoga ball and he took it.

Student X is playing games on their Chromebook instead of working.

I have ADHD and am bouncing off the walls and need to MOVE (Of course, what this student actually says to me is usually “Huh?” after I ask where they are wandering off to. And once, memorably, “I thought maybe I left something in Band.”)

I need to see the homework list on the board.

I need to check today’s agenda for the next step.

I need to ask you for the next step.

I need another copy of the assignment.

I need help with this question.

I need to turn something in.

I need my notebook from my writing file.

I need to let you know that my assignment on the computer is marked late but I turned it in on time.

I need to know if I turned in last Wednesday’s assignment.

I need to make-up that test.

I need you to fill out this form.

I need to remind you that I will be gone for the next two weeks.

I have a question.

I have a question.

I have a question.

I have a question.

Let’s just sit with all of that for a moment, shall we?

My classroom always has a lot of movement in it – for the students and for me. I do not know how it will work. We cannot even put supplies for the students on the desks, because there will be two different cohorts alternating, and different students every other day. Can middle schoolers really rise to the occasion and remember all their supplies and their chargers? Can we be an equitable school if we do not provide materials, no questions asked, to those who forgot them or cannot afford them in the first place? Is it really going to be better for students and for their education to put us all back into schools like this?

What do I do with the kid who is bleeding? Send a bandaid via paper airplane?

What about the kid in tears?

What do I do with the kid having a panic attack?

Like the administrators, I just don’t know.

4 thoughts on “Wandering, Middle School Version

  1. All those questions put me right back in my middle school classroom! And I understand your fear of being in the same room with 70 other people. I imagine you have more than a few questions. I may need to call my 6th grade teacher friends who have been back in school for two weeks now teaching in-person and virtually all at the same time! Who thinks up these things?

    Liked by 1 person

    • My only explanation is that the system has to have been designed by someone who has never taught, because no teacher I know thinks this is a functional, workable solution! 😂


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