It was a day that packed a lot of living into it – a runaway train of urgent circumstance and no time. Yesterday we tore through reams of copy paper spouting from nearly over-heating copiers, preparing for a month of no school. We swirled through too few hours, some with bated breath, others near hyperventilation. In the end, we handed over our charges to dubious – somewhat tentative families, bolstering both with confidence about the unfamiliar partnership that lie ahead. It is likely that we all breathed a collective exhale when the last child waved good-bye for a month.
Having each been in buildings teeming with life all day, my husband and I willingly risked dinner at the local pub – the threat there minimal compared to the daily dousing of germs in our classrooms. We descended underground on deeply worn slate steps to the local rathskeller, centuries old – a warm, cozy cave. Coolness gave way to warm-subterranean lighting, a heavy low-beamed ceiling, and crusty stone walls corralling chattering families around tables, sharing meals. Neighborhood characters at the bar dotted the foreground, enjoying hot meals in a place where you can know everyone or no one, and still be a part of it.
The pace and urgency of the day slid off my shoulders and dropped to the floor as we set at a side table near the wine cages and ordered meal and drinks. I am always proud to be a teacher, but today particularly so. We were handed a tall order, and we did what we needed to do. Faculty, staff, and administration prepared and outfitted over 300 primary grade students for a month of distance learning in 24 hours, and we did it well. Our community looked to us to take charge and make them feel okay about what was about to happen, and we did just that. I am privileged to be a part of what happened yesterday in my school and in my profession. We made a stressful circumstance possible, manageable, and positive.
Teaching is so many things. Yesterday, teaching was ministry.
I’ll drink to that.