Today was a hard day. I’ll acknowledge first that I have a good setup—still have a job, can easily work from home, fast internet, plenty to eat (and drink). But the news is hard. We don’t know when there might be a return to something resembling normalcy and we don’t know if this thing is amenable to a vaccine. It has effects that are not like other coronaviruses and it’s hard to predict who will get really sick. Meanwhile, some people are using its presence to sow discord.
I was thinking about all this while trying to process how different my own situation is from what I expected for 2020. I have not been inside my office since I left for Spring Break nearly seven weeks ago. At the earliest, we’ll go back in late July to arrange virtual professional learning, but certainly not to gather teachers. And it’s possible that all of the arranging, as well as the learning, will be done remotely.
Today I learned the extent of a bigger disruption to my 2020 plans. I was scheduled to spend most of July teaching at UNC’s Summer Enrichment Program. I was prepared, and almost excited, to spend most of a month in Greeley hanging out with gifted kids. (I visited for a day last summer and enjoyed it much more than I expected to.) This was the last requirement, the practicum, in my master’s program in gifted education. Whether SEP would run has been in question since the shutdowns began in March. Last week the President of the University announced that all on-campus summer programs were cancelled. Although I think this is for the best from a health standpoint (and I was worried about attending), I am disappointed.
Today we learned that there will be an online SEP of some sort. To say that I am less excited about this than the in-person experience would be quite an understatement. I don’t work directly with students in my position, or have “access” to the students I serve indirectly, so this is my only option to complete the practicum. There may have been tears. I’m guessing many of the kids feel the same way. These are the two weeks of the year where they get to be with other kids who “get them” and are like them. So it’s back to “both, and” (both building community and supporting learning) and using my experience teaching adults virtually to do the same for gifted kids. I have all the pieces, I need to figure out how to put them together. There may still be more tears.
Speaking of pieces, I finally decided to tackle the next part of the Hogwarts Express today.
It’s a really cool model, but honestly I think I prefer the less IKEA-like instructions of the Advent Calendar. You actually have to problem-solve a little, which is definitely not required here.
I also have mixed feelings about the specialty pieces, since I grew up with LEGOs like this:
But I do love minifigures…